Storms Blamed for 13 MO Deaths

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Heavy rains in the Midwest forced hundreds of people to flee from their flooded homes Tuesday.

At least 13 deaths are blamed on floodwaters caused by the torrential rain in Missouri.  Three others are missing.

Forecasters said some parts of Missouri could get 10 inches of rain or more before the storms finally stop Wednesday.

Missouri's governor activated the National Guard as high water closed hundreds of roads.

McKenzie Creek overflowed its banks and caused flooding two to three-foot deep in the downtown area of Piedmont, Missouri. About 300 of the 900 homes were evacuated Tuesday and several dozen people had to be rescued by boat.

Up to 30 homes were evacuated in Winona, and some residents of Cape Girardeau were trapped in their homes, the State Emergency Management Agency said. In the town of Ellington, as many as 50 homes and half the businesses were evacuated, officials said.

The body of an 81-year-old man was found in the water at Ellington, about 120 miles southwest of St. Louis, said Missouri State Water Patrol Lt. Nicholas Humphrey. A 21-year-old state Department of Transportation worker was killed near Springfield when his dump truck was hit by a tractor-trailer rig as he helped out in a flooded area, state officials said.

Firefighters and police were sent to pull motorists out of flooded roads in and around Springfield, said Greene County Emergency Management Director Ryan Nicholls.

"It's absolutely abnormal to have this much rain and more on the way today and tonight," Nicholls said.

Severe Weather Cancels Flights

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, more than half of the 950 scheduled departures were canceled. More than 100 arrivals were diverted, due to the heavy rain and winds that briefly reached more than 100 mph, airport officials said.

Federal Aviation Administration officials evacuated the airport's west tower for about 15 minutes Tuesday morning after a funnel cloud was spotted nearby. Witnesses saw another funnel cloud just north of the airport near Lake Lewisville.

"This is one of the most vicious thunderstorms DFW has seen in quite some time, especially its ongoing intensity," airport spokesman Ken Capps said. "Add in two snow storms in the past two weeks and this has been one of the most unusual early spring weather patterns in years."

By Tuesday night, the FAA said it was accepting about 50 arrivals and departures per hour. Normally, more than 120 flights use the airport's seven runways every hour, the airport said in a news release.

Boy Swept Away by Floodwaters

Flash flood warnings were posted from Texas to Ohio, with tornado watches in several states.

Emergency workers in Mesquite, Texas, searched for a 14-year-old boy apparently swept away by floodwaters as he and a friend played in a creek. The friend was able to swim to safety and said he saw the boy get sucked into a drainage pipe, according to a Fire Department news release.

Hundreds of people in Lancaster, south of Dallas, were advised to evacuate their homes as the Ten Mile Creek rose. By evening, the creek waters had receded.

Source: The Associated Press

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