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Midwest Storms Cause Flooding That Pushes Levees To The Limit

These seem to be the same floods that happen each year, but combined with tornadoes. These deadly storms ravaged the northern midwest.

North Dakota Battles Red River Floods
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Severe storms across the Midwest caused heavy flooding and violent tornadoes, killing 7 in Arkansas and forcing residents in a Missouri town to pack up and flee to higher ground.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Tommy Jackson said four people died Monday in the central Arkansas town of Vilonia, where a tornado likely ripped through the area. In the state’s northwest, three people died after their vehicles were swept off the road.

Vilonia’s fire chief, Keith Hillman, said 40 to 50 weren’t accounted for, but he expected many simply weren’t reachable. He said he didn’t expect the death toll to rise significantly. Fire crews wrapped up work overnight and planned to resume early Tuesday morning.

“The town’s gone,” Vilonia resident Sheldon Brock said outside a gas station a few miles outside of town.

Brock told The Associated Press he was standing in his front yard and watched storms pass over his home, leaving him and his family unscathed, while strong winds and a possible tornado destroyed homes and businesses and yanked down power lines. Heavy rains sent water from nearby creeks washing over their borders.

Torrential rain expected to continue for several days pounded southern Missouri early Tuesday, forcing residents to flee to higher ground away from overburdened levees on the verge of breaking.

Authorities evacuated more than 1,000 homes threatened by rising floodwaters in the Missouri town of Poplar Bluff.

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