Midwest storms cause flooding, spawn 2 tornadoes

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Lightning strikes behind a windmill on a farm near Baldwin City, Kan., Monday, June 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

DREXEL, Mo. (AP) -- Storms that spread across the central U.S. brought heavy rains, wind and at least two tornadoes, renewing flooding concerns in already soggy areas and leaving thousands of people without power.

No injuries were reported from the two storm systems that hit the central part of the U.S. on Monday and early Tuesday.

Heavy rain brought flooding concerns to areas of central North Dakota hit by flooding earlier this spring. Burleigh County Emergency Manager Mary Senger said the damage means some repairs made after flooding in March and April would have to be done again. Rainfall totals in Burleigh and Morton counties reached up to 5 inches to 7 inches.

South Dakota saw heavy rain, strong wind and hail, with two reports of funnel clouds in Stanley County.

A separate storm system that cut a wide swath across Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri knocked out power, damaged buildings and led to flash flooding. The National Weather Service said that two tornadoes that touched down in central and western Nebraska caused little damage.

In Drexel, about 60 miles south of Kansas City, Fire Chief William Harper said the main concern Tuesday was restoring power to the Cass County town that saw high winds and heavy rain.

"We were able to get the sirens sounded in town, people took cover and hunkered down," Harper said. "We're very fortunate."

Mabel Lee, 81, of Drexel, said the blowing wind and thunder had awakened her, although her building was not damaged.

"I didn't even look outside because I was afraid it might rip up the apartment," she said.

In southwest Kansas, high winds picked up a tractor-trailer rig and tossed it from the highway. The driver was not injured. The National Weather Service said it was hard to tell whether tornadoes or straight-line winds were to blame for some damage in that state, where winds reached up to 80 or 90 mph. About 22,000 residents were without power.

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