This image made from video provided by KWTV-KOTV shows two funnel clouds formed in Crescent, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2019. An intense storm system that weather forecasters labeled "particularly dangerous" swept through the Southern Plains Monday, spawning a few tornadoes that caused some damage and a deluge of rain but no reports of injuries. (KWTV-KOTV via AP)

The Latest: St. Louis airport reopens after storm shutdown

May 21, 2019 - 8:37 pm

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on severe weather in the central United States (all times local):

7:35 p.m.

Flights have resumed at Lambert Airport in St. Louis after a temporary halt caused by a severe storm.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered a temporary halt to both arrivals and departures Tuesday evening, when a strong storm passed through the region. After about an hour, the flights were able to resume.

There were reports of funnel clouds cited in St. Charles County, near St. Louis, and downtown turned pitch black as a strong storm rumbled through. But by 7:30 p.m. the worst of the storm appeared to have passed without any reports of significant damage.

The storm was part of a system that began Monday in the Plains. Around three dozen tornadoes have been reported since Monday night.

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6:45 p.m.

A severe storm in the St. Louis area is forcing Lambert Airport to temporarily halt all flights.

The storm rolled into the region Tuesday evening. Funnel clouds were reported in St. Charles County, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.

Lambert officials say the Federal Aviation Administration stopped all arrivals and departures around 6:30 p.m. due to the extreme weather.

The storm was part of a system that began Monday in the Plains. Around three dozen tornadoes have been reported since Monday night.

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5:30 p.m.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says all the animals are accounted for after a tornado hit a drive-through wild animal park.

Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace says only minor damage was reported Tuesday to buildings at the Wild Animal Safari in Strafford, about 10 miles (17 kilometers) northeast of Springfield.

Webster County Emergency Management Director Tom Simmons says there were no reports that people or animals were injured. The park boasts on its website of having more than 450 animals.

Simmons also estimated that half a dozen homes were damaged in the county. In neighboring Wright County, a suspected tornado also damaged some homes and a grocery store.

Pace says there also were several water rescues, including one of an 18-year-old woman who was swept off a flooded road near Joplin and stranded overnight.

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5 p.m.

Missouri authorities say heavy rain was a contributing factor in the deaths of two people in a traffic accident near Springfield.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the crash happened around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday when the victim's sport utility vehicle skidded across the center of U.S. 160 about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) west of Springfield and struck a tractor-trailer. Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace says it was raining heavily at the time.

The victims were identified as 23-year-old Brandon Beasley and his wife, 24-year-old Christin Beasley, of Willard.

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4:45 p.m.

A strong band of storms has spawned more than 30 tornadoes across the central U.S., damaging homes in Oklahoma, demolishing a racetrack grandstand in Missouri and drenching waterlogged states with more water and more flooding.

The severe weather system started in the southern Plains Monday night and moved to the northeast. Missouri and parts of Illinois and Arkansas are in the crosshairs Tuesday.

By Wednesday the storm will move into Great Lakes region and weaken. But another storm system is gathering steam for later this week, potentially covering an area from Texas to Chicago.

Patrick Marsh of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center says eyewitnesses reported 26 tornadoes Monday and six more Tuesday. One, near Tulsa, was a mile wide and wind was reportedly in the range of 111 mph to 135 mph.

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4:25 p.m.

The Army Corps of Engineers says it plans to increase the rate of flow from a dam northwest of Tulsa by 60% after severe storms dropped up to 9 inches (22.86 centimeters) of rain in areas of the Arkansas River drainage basin in northeastern Oklahoma.

Corps hydrologist David Williams said Tuesday that water is flowing from Keystone Dam at the rate of 100,000 cubic feet (2831.7 cubic meters) per second. Williams says the flow will be increased to 160,000 cubic feet (4,530.7 cubic meters) to help lower the level of Keystone Lake, a popular recreational lake that's more than 20 feet (6 meters) above normal.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum says the additional release will likely cause the Arkansas River in Tulsa to exceed flood levels and cause minor flooding.

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4:15 p.m.

Arkansas officials say crews are working to free a woman after she was trapped under a tree toppled by strong winds.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Melody Daniel says the woman was in a shed on her property in Atkins, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, when the structure was blown away Tuesday. Intense winds uprooted trees and one fell on her.

Storms have brought flooding, strong winds and tornadoes to parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

Daniel says the unnamed woman is alert and talking.

In Baxter County in the northern part of Arkansas, Daniel says downed trees and power lines have blocked a highway, but no injuries have been reported.

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3:50 p.m.

Authorities say a tornado has hit a drive-thru wild animal park in central Missouri and blown a tractor-trailer off a nearby road.

Webster County Emergency Management Director Tom Simmons says the tornado damaged some buildings Tuesday at the Wild Animal Safari near Strafford, about 10 miles (17 kilometers) northeast of Springfield. He said there were no reports that people or animals were injured.

The phone number to the animal park rang unanswered. The park boasts on its website of having more than 450 animals on 350 acres (142 hectares).

Simmons estimates that half a dozen homes were damaged in the county. He says damage assessments are underway.

The tornado came amid storms that have brought flooding and strong winds to parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

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3:30 p.m.

One day after President Donald Trump approved a federal disaster declaration for 13 Missouri counties, the state's governor declared a state of emergency amid new weather problems.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday cited worsening flood concerns and soil inundation, as well as forecasts calling for severe storms and possible tornadoes into Wednesday morning.

Parson cited numerous instances of flash flooding due to a band of storms crossing the state, storms that resulted in tornadoes and flooding in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Trump's federal disaster declaration was in response to a March flood that was particularly damaging along the Missouri River in the state's northwestern corner. The declaration allows for federal aid to help repair roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

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3:10 p.m.

With a potentially dangerous storm bearing down on St. Louis, baseball's Cardinals are taking no chances, calling off a game against the cross-state rival Kansas City Royals.

The Cardinals announced the decision Tuesday afternoon, while the weather was calm. Forecasters were warning of potentially strong storms expected to arrive shortly after the game was scheduled to start.

The game will be made up Wednesday as part of a doubleheader.

The postponement means only one of St. Louis' two major sports teams will play Tuesday night. It's a big one. The Blues can earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals if they beat the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the NHL Western Conference Finals.

The Blues say they're working with police and emergency crews to monitor the storm. They say fans should stay in their seats if a storm occurs during the game.

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11 a.m.

St. Louis' two major sports teams say they're prepared for severe weather that's expected to roll through Tuesday night.

Forecasters expect a thunderstorm to roll through downtown St. Louis at about the time the NHL's Blues play the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. Baseball's Cardinals are opening a series with cross-state rival Kansas City.

Both organizations say they're prepared. The Blues are coordinating with St. Louis emergency managers and police to monitor the weather. Fans are told to stay in their seats if a strong storm hits during one of the biggest games in franchise history. A win would send the Blues to their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1970.

The Cardinals say Busch Stadium has clearly marked storm shelters and a detailed plan to alert fans in a weather emergency.

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9:30 a.m.

At least one person was injured and about a dozen homes were damaged when a tornado touched down near Tulsa International Airport.

Tulsa Area Emergency Management spokeswoman Kim MacLeod says one man was rescued from beneath a tree that was blown onto a home during the Tuesday morning twister.

MacLeod said the extent of the man's injuries was not immediately known and that damage assessments are ongoing.

Airport spokesman Andrew Pierini said there was no damage at the airport, approximately 4 miles (6 kilometers) from where the tornado touched down, but passengers were moved into shelters for about 30 minutes.

The tornado comes as part of a powerful storm system that spawned dozens of tornado sightings Monday and caused significant flash flooding in parts of Oklahoma. The stormy weather is expected to continue Tuesday in eastern Oklahoma before moving into Arkansas, Missouri and western Illinois.

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8:15 a.m.

Officials say there was at least minor damage, but no injuries reported when a tornado touched down near Tulsa International Airport.

Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said the area is being assessed following the Tuesday morning twister and that so far one home has been found damaged by a falling tree.

Airport spokesman Andrew Pierini said there was no damage at the airport, approximately four miles (6 kilometers) from where the tornado touched down, but passengers were moved into shelters for about 30 minutes.

The tornado comes as part of a powerful storm system that spawned dozens of tornado sightings Monday and caused significant flash flooding in parts of Oklahoma. The stormy weather is expected to continue Tuesday in eastern Oklahoma before moving into Arkansas, Missouri and western Illinois.

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7:25 a.m.

Much of Kansas remains under flood warnings or watches as heavy rains are expected to push streams and rivers out of their banks.

The National Weather Service says more than 3.5 inches of rain fell onto already-saturated ground in parts of Kansas Monday and overnight, and more is expected Tuesday.

New Cambria, a central Kansas town near Salina, asked residents on Monday to voluntarily evacuate for up to 48 hours. Officials say Saline County faces the potential for record flooding along Mulberry Creek near Salina and Smoky Hill River near New Cambria.

Pittsburg officials say an apparent tornado touched down south of the city Monday afternoon, damaging outbuildings and knocking down power lines and trees. Roof damage was also reported to Grubbs Hall at Pittsburg State University. No injuries were reported.

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6:45 a.m.

The National Weather Service says a confirmed tornado has been spotted near the Tulsa International Airport.

A tornado warning was issued early Tuesday morning for the area. Forecasters say the tornado is moving to the northeast at about 50 mph (80 kph).

The tornado comes as part of a powerful storm system that spawned dozens of tornado sightings Monday and caused significant flash flooding in parts of Oklahoma. The stormy weather is expected to continue Tuesday in eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and western Illinois.

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6:15 a.m.

A powerful storm system that spawned dozens of tornado sightings is now causing significant flash flooding in parts of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 40 in El Reno, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, because of high water Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service says up to 5 inches of rain has fallen since Monday.

In Stillwater, emergency responders were rescuing people from their homes because of high water.

The Storm Prediction Center had warned of an unusually high risk for severe weather Monday for parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Damage was reported in many areas, including the town of Mangum, but no deaths have been reported.

Forecasters say more stormy weather is expected Tuesday, especially in Arkansas, Missouri and western Illinois.

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