Tornado threat eases, but will resume next week across US Plains states

Tornadoes in western Ohio killed one and injured several others as neighbourhoods were strewn with wreckage.
Tornadoes in western Ohio killed one and injured several others as neighbourhoods were strewn with wreckage.PHOTO: AFP

BROOKLINE, OHIO (REUTERS) - The tornadoes and heavy rains sweeping across the United States from the southern Plains into New Jersey will ease by late Thursday (May 30), but resume early next week, forecasters said.

Rain, hail, thunderstorms and the threat of tornadoes will return from east Texas, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and on into Illinois and parts of the East Coast, Mr David Roth, a forecaster with the National Weather Service (NWS), said early on Wednesday.

"You can't catch a break," Mr Roth said. "Or at least not for long. It'll clear up Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

Several tornadoes reportedly touched down on Tuesday evening in Kansas, damaging homes, uprooting trees and ripping down power lines, the NWS said.

About a dozen people were reported injured in Douglas County, Kansas, according to the sheriff's office. The extent of the injuries was not yet known.

The latest wave of tornadoes came a day after twisters pulverised buildings in western Ohio, killing one person, injuring scores and triggering a recovery effort in neighbourhoods strewn with wreckage.

Late on Tuesday, about 20 tornadoes, including a large rain-wrapped twister near Kansas City, were reported to the NWS by storm chasers and spotters. News broadcasts showed roofs torn off homes and roads scattered with debris and tree limbs.


The NWS will send out survey teams early on Wednesday to assess the damage and determine the strength of the storms, an official at the NWS in Topeka, Kansas, said.

Kansas City International Airport said on Twitter that travellers found shelter in parking garages as the storms passed the airfield on Tuesday night. The airport later said it was closed as crews cleared debris.

More than 300 tornadoes have torn through the Midwest in the last two weeks. The latest storms follow tornadoes and floods that killed at least three people in Missouri and six people in Oklahoma the week before, including two in El Reno on Saturday.

Two tornadoes also struck late on Monday near Dayton, including one just south of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Ohio Department of Transportation crews used snow plows to clear highways of debris.

Nearly 80 people in and around Dayton went to hospitals with injuries, said Ms Elizabeth Long, a spokesman for the Kettering Health Network.

"We've had injuries ranging from lacerations to bumps and bruises from folks being thrown around in their houses," Ms Long said.

Rainfall could trigger flash flooding on Tuesday evening in parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, said Mr Brian Hurley, a senior NWS meteorologist.