The Latest: Small tornado confirmed in Arkansas
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on storms and flooding in the Midwest and Deep South (all times local):
Forecasters have confirmed a small tornado touched down in central Arkansas, damaging two apartment complexes and injuring four people.
The National Weather Service said a twister with winds between 86 and 110 mph lasted for less than a minute Wednesday evening when it hit Pine Bluff.
Meteorologist Thomas Jones says the tornado was about 100 yards wide and traveled for only about a quarter of a mile, but still managed to damage the brick facing and roof of the apartments. Jones says at least two walls caved in.
The twister also uprooted several trees and snapped utility poles, and left some residents homeless.
Storms are dumping heavy rains and leaving a path of damage in the Deep South.
The National Weather Service issued flood warnings Thursday as more than 5 inches of rain fell in parts of Mississippi. The downpours swelled streams and made driving difficult.
Authorities say trees are down in north Alabama after the same storm system moved through.
Forecasters issued tornado warnings for cities including Huntsville. But it wasn’t immediately clear whether the damage was caused by twisters or straight-line winds.
No injuries are being reported.
Wind-driven water caused more flooding in southeastern Michigan along western Lake Erie following recent rainfall that contributed to high water levels in the Great Lakes .
Firefighters in Monroe County’s Berlin Township used a boat to reach those stranded at homes by high water near Lake Erie. In nearby Frenchtown Township, pumps were used to clear roadways.
A lakeshore flood warning was in effect Thursday morning along the lake as well as near Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, Lake Huron and the Detroit River.
Flooding continued in Algonac and on Harsens Island along the St. Clair River. The weather conditions come as other parts of the Midwest face flooding .
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week announced a state of emergency in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, following flooding.
Water levels are rising again along the Missouri River after recent rains, putting communities already fatigued by the weeks-long flood fight at risk.
The National Weather Service is predicting that the river will crest Thursday in St. Joseph at a level that causes parkland and a residential area to flood.
In northwest Missouri’s Holt County, emergency management director Tom Bullock says a few people who had moved back home after March’s flooding busted levees were forced out again late Wednesday by rising water. His own home is now unreachable. He says, “The water won’t go away.”
In Kansas, flooding waterways forced evacuations and school closures Wednesday. Problems continued Thursday, with a 19-year-old rescued from the roof of her car near Emporia. And the Kansas Turnpike remained closed near the Oklahoma border.
A line of thunderstorms crossing the nation’s midsection spawned a suspected tornado that caused extensive damage in Pine Bluff, Arkansas overnight, leaving some people homeless.
The severe weather moved eastward Thursday after forcing people from their homes in Kansas, stranding dozens of Texas children at school overnight and straining levees along the surging Mississippi River on Wednesday.
The flooding has caused billions of dollars of damage to farmland, homes and businesses across the Midwest, with some rivers above flood stage for more than six weeks now.
Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said the suspected tornado caused “extensive” damage to buildings so they’re blessed not to have more people hurt. Mayor Shirley Washington said people panicked, but then came together, and the city will help people who lost their homes.