NEWS

Flooding follows latest deadly U.S. tornadoes

06/01/2013 11:25 EDT | Updated 08/01/2013 05:12 EDT
A new series of twisters has hit the same region in the United States that was devastated less than two weeks ago by one of the biggest tornadoes ever recorded — and authorities now say flooding from the storm is a concern.

The recovery from the EF-5 tornado earlier this month had barely begun in and around Oklahoma City when the new round of twisters moved across Oklahoma and into Missouri on Friday evening, killing five people, including a mother and her baby.

High winds pulled the pair from their vehicle on Interstate 40 near the Oklahoma community of El Rino. The weather system spawned winds of 145 km/hr and trapped people stranded in their cars as they tried to flee on crowded highways.

Officials say the storm injured between 50 and 70 people. Five were critically hurt.

Vehicles were torn to shreds and tractor trailers were flipped on their sides. The Oklahoma City suburb of Moore was hit for a second time. A similiar tornado killed 26 people in the region on May 20.

There are more than 200,000 people without power and forecasters after the latest violent storm and officials are predicting more severe weather on Saturday, this time in Ohio and Mississippi.

NBC's Jay Gray, reporting from Oklahoma City, told CBC News on Saturday that heavy rains continued from the evening through to the early morning hours, sparking flash flooding in the city's downtown area.

Dozens of roads have been made impassable from Kansas through to Oklahoma and into Illinois. Missouri's transportation department reported portions of more than 200 roads were closed due to flooding.

After the system fired up, it dumped a month's worth of rain and created multiple tornadoes.

Greg Johnson, a Canadian storm chaser from Regina, told CBC News, his team's truck was struck by debris from the storm.

"Unfortunately, we got a little too close for my comfort. We were actually caught by one of the tornadoes, literally in the eye of it, and it was a very terrifying situation.

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"We were on a road. The traffic was such that we couldn't get off the road and there was no other access on or off, and literally, the tornado passed overhead.

Johnson said their vehicle was hit by debris from a nearby farm, where buildings were "blown apart." At one point, debris flew over the vehicle.

"We actually saw a farm truck that was flying through the air in front of us, less than 100 metres away," he said.

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