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Historic flooding expected as 3.6 million under flash flood watch

The threat of record flooding has areas of the central United States on alert after more than a week of extreme weather that has brought with it tornadoes, f...

Posted: May 27, 2019 3:52 AM
Updated: May 27, 2019 4:45 AM

The threat of record flooding has areas of the central United States on alert after more than a week of extreme weather that has brought with it tornadoes, fierce winds and heavy rains.

Spring storms have resulted in five deaths in Missouri, one in Iowa and six in Oklahoma. In Indiana, a 4-year-old boy is missing after strong currents from heavy rains swept him away.

CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford said 3.6 million people were under a flash flood watch, and 1.3 million under a severe thunderstorm watch overnight Sunday, with nearly 50 million at risk of severe weather impacts on Monday.

'Severe thunderstorms are continuing along the central High Plains, bringing damaging winds and the possibility for a few tornadoes, but these systems will weaken throughout the night,' he said.

Shackelford said the Arkansas River is experiencing record flooding, with one site at Van Buren already over 38 feet -- the record set in 1945 -- and an expected crest at 42.5 feet late Tuesday into early Wednesday.

Tulsa levees under strain, record flooding expected

Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest are still reeling from a deadly spring storm system that has resulted in more than 170 reported tornadoes plus strong winds, flash flooding and hail.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Army Corps of Engineers said it was increasing the release of water at Keystone Dam to 265,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) Sunday evening and to 275,000 CFS Monday morning 'with the expectation to leave it at this level through Thursday.'

'Due to the additional release at Keystone Dam, flood water is expected to rise and residents and businesses along the Arkansas River must remain vigilant and take precautions based on the new data available,' the city said in a release.

On Twitter, it said that emergency services had responded to reports of a man in the river Sunday evening. 'We are hopeful he somehow made his way safely to the bank. It's extremely important to avoid the river to ensure your safety,' it said.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the Oklahoma Guard was patrolling the city's levee system 24 hours a day.

'We continue to urge residents along the river to plan for the flood of record (the worst flood in Tulsa history), which was equivalent to 305,000 CFS,' the mayor said on Facebook.

'The levees continue to operate as designed, but this will place an even greater load on them,' he said, urging residents living behind Levees A and B to relocate.

Evacuations underway in Arkansas

Arkansas fully activated its State Emergency Operations Center on Sunday morning in response to rising water levels and anticipated continued flooding along the Arkansas River.

Governor Asa Hutchinson on Friday declared a state of emergency in relation to the storms and flooding that began May 21, saying that 'severe flooding of historic proportion will likely result.'

After a briefing on flooding along the Arkansas River Sunday morning, Hutchinson approved $100,000 in emergency funding to support sandbagging work.

'I appreciate all the neighbors and volunteers filling sandbags and assisting with evacuations. The state team is continuing to respond to assistance requests, and more funds will be allocated as the situation demands,' the governor said in a statement.

Ten Arkansas counties had verbally declared Sunday morning -- meaning they can request disaster resources. Another two had submitted written declarations, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said in a statement.

As of 6 p.m. local time Sunday (7p.m. ET), areas of Crawford, Franklin, Jefferson and Perry counties had already been evacuated and officials were encouraging some residents of low lying areas to evacuate in Conway, Faulkner and Logan counties. Visitors to RV parks in low lying areas of Pope County were also being encouraged to leave, the department said.

Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma

A state of emergency has also been in place across all 77 counties of Oklahoma since Friday due to the severe weather.

Six people have died in the state after flooding, severe storms and tornadoes.

Two people were killed when a powerful EF-3 tornado touched down in El Reno, about 29 miles west of Oklahoma City, late Saturday.

A mobile home park was 'devastated' after the twister made landfall, Mayor Matt White said. El Reno has a population of about 19,000.

'It's a lot of devastation here, it's leveled, it's just devastated,' White said in a phone interview with CNN. 'It's tore all to pieces, it was terrible.'

Two people were killed earlier in Mayes County, according to a tally Sunday from the state medical examiner's office. A 53-year-old woman also died in Payne County and a 58-year-old man died in Stephens County, according to officials.

Area hospitals reported 92 injuries, the state health department said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31865

Reported Deaths: 539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7022136
Marion456992
Washington441759
Umatilla293941
Clackamas234661
Malheur158926
Jackson11094
Lane109616
Deschutes79312
Yamhill75013
Jefferson5218
Polk51515
Linn49513
Morrow4946
Lincoln47613
Union4392
Benton2946
Klamath2792
Wasco2793
Hood River2490
Douglas2244
Josephine1952
Columbia1551
Coos1490
Clatsop1310
Baker922
Crook621
Tillamook510
Curry310
Lake290
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 799516

Reported Deaths: 15393
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2644146455
Riverside578831179
San Bernardino53359918
Orange526221182
San Diego45596773
Kern31712360
Fresno28019362
Sacramento21872399
Alameda20951397
Santa Clara20756304
San Joaquin20126437
Stanislaus16436345
Contra Costa16238204
Tulare15829259
Ventura12591146
Imperial11741317
San Francisco1094699
San Mateo9714144
Monterey970170
Santa Barbara8973113
Merced8828140
Kings756977
Sonoma7262120
Marin6641114
Solano627863
Madera445865
Placer353544
San Luis Obispo347929
Butte279043
Yolo278255
Santa Cruz22949
Sutter168911
Napa165313
San Benito132111
Yuba11367
El Dorado10884
Mendocino89418
Shasta75916
Lassen7360
Glenn5713
Tehama5334
Lake53011
Nevada5286
Colusa5246
Humboldt4967
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1630
Del Norte1381
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc250
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
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Brookings
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Cool & damp into Saturday
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