1 May 2017

Texas tornadoes kill at least four

7:07 am on 1 May 2017

Severe flooding and tornadoes have killed at least four people and injured dozens as a storm hit the US states of Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.

A photo from the National Weather Service Fort Worth shows some of the devastation caused by the tornadoes.

A photo from the National Weather Service Fort Worth shows some of the devastation caused by the tornadoes in Canton. Photo: Twitter / @NWSFortWorth

The winds flipped over cars, snapped trees, destroyed houses and left roads strewn with debris and fallen power lines.

"We have at least four fatalities," Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett said, warning the death toll could rise.

"The damage was extensive in the affected area. It is heartbreaking and upsetting." Forty-nine people had been treated for injuries, she said.

Earlier a Canton fire department captain said he believed five people had been killed.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed a search and rescue team to the area.

The storms caused floods in neighboring states, killing a 72-year-old woman in southwestern Missouri who was washed away in her car, according to local media reports.

Another woman was killed when a tree fell on her mobile home in DeWitt, Arkansas, CNN reported.

Downpours that began on Friday were so intense the ground was unable to absorb the rainfall, making flooding likely, National Weather Service meteorologist Kenneth James said.

More than 150mm of rain fell in some areas, flooding roads and prompting evacuations, meteorologists said.

The governors of Missouri and Oklahoma declared states of emergency due to flooding.

Footage from Canton, east of Dallas, shows one of the tornadoes which have left five people dead.

Footage from Canton, east of Dallas, shows one of the tornadoes which have left five people dead. Photo: Screenshot / BBC

In the St Louis area, severe thunderstorms were forecast through Sunday local time. Some people were told to evacuate and 33 rescues were conducted, mostly in the state's central and southwestern regions, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said.

Parts of Indiana received up to 200mm of rain while areas in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas were drenched with up to 100mm, Mr James said.

Heavy rainfall in the midwest was expected to continue on Sunday (local time), along with wind gusts of 95km/h.

Flash floods and strong thunderstorms were forecast for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday, the National Weather Service said.

-Reuters

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