Texas surveys tornado damage as deadly U.S. storm system brings new woes to Midwest
2,100 flights cancelled across U.S., another 3,700 delayed
The severe weather system that brought tornadoes, blizzards and heavy rain to the southern and midwestern U.S. over the past few days continues to batter several states.
At least 43 people have died in the storms.
A range of precipitation was forecast Monday for the U.S. midsection, including heavy snow, ice and blustery winds in parts of 11 states and heavy rain in already waterlogged parts of Missouri and Arkansas. The same system is bringing snow, mixed at times with ice pellets, to southern Ontario on Monday evening.
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In Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday afternoon that at least 10 people died during storms in his state, the majority of whom were people swept away in their vehicles on flooded roadways. He said he expects the number of deaths to rise.
"It has been a very difficult several days, and this threat is clearly not over," said Nixon, who declared a state of emergency over the weekend.
More than 200 roads in Missouri were closed Monday morning due to flooding.
Potential record crest for Mississippi River
Highways turned icy and treacherous in New Mexico, while Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency after blizzard conditions affected parts of the state and heavy rains fell as well.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the body of a 22-year-old man was recovered in northern Oklahoma but a second man, the lead singer of the country-rock band Backroad Anthem, was still missing after the two went duck hunting and their boat capsized. The body of a 36-year-old man who tried to cross a creek in his pickup near the town of Arpelar was also recovered Monday afternoon, the patrol said.
Officials in Arkansas said a 31-year-old man died in a storm-related drowning.
The Mississippi River neared a potential record crest, after an unusual amount of late-fall rain had the river already high before torrential downpours that began Saturday.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday the state is seeking a federal disaster declaration for some or all of the seven counties hit by a tornado last week. Authorities in Georgia said they recovered the body of a man whose car was swept away when floodwaters overtook it.
Thousands of flights cancelled
The weather system caused more than 2,100 flights to be cancelled and another 3,700 to be delayed. A typical day sees about 150 cancellations and 4,000 delays.
Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed that nearly half of the cancellations were at Chicago's two main airports. Another large chunk came from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Other cities with an unusually large number of cancellations included Houston, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Lubbock, Texas.
'Never seen anything like this'
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made disaster declarations Sunday for four counties. Officials estimated as many as 1,450 homes in North Texas were damaged or destroyed by at least nine tornadoes.
At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in the tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area on Saturday and caused substantial damage.
With rain all day Sunday keeping people away, people in the Dallas area worked on a dreary and frigid Monday to salvage what they could, with the American Red Cross distributing items like tarps, rakes and work gloves to help them.
"Families will want to sift, they'll want to sort and salvage. They'll want to find those mementoes from their lives," American Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster said.
The National Weather Service has said an EF-4 tornado, which is the second-most powerful with winds up to more than 320 kph, hit Garland. Eight people died there, 15 were injured and more than 600 structures, mostly single-family homes, were damaged.
"I've never seen anything like this, with this scale of destruction," Police Chief Mitch Bates said Monday.
Twister victims include 1-year-old
He said authorities believe all eight of the tornado victims there, which included a 1-year-old, died when their vehicles were thrown from overpasses in the area of Interstate 30 and the George Bush Turnpike, a major route in the region.
Three people died in Collin County, about 70 kilometres northeast of Dallas, according to sheriff's deputy Chris Havey.
Many roads across West Texas and the Panhandle were still closed due to snow-packed roads and ice, with long delays expected.
Interstate 40, the main east-west highway across the Panhandle, reopened Monday morning. After a standstill of several hours, traffic began moving slowly where Interstate 10 splits into Interstate 20 in West Texas. Most other roads across West Texas and the Panhandle had also reopened by late Monday, although snow-packed roads and ice made driving hazardous.
Vito Randazzo of California sat on I-10 for about 13 hours. "Everybody's just sleeping in their cars," said Randazzo. "I can't believe the road was left in this condition." Around 9 a.m. Monday he was able to see to drive across a median and get onto a service road.
A shopping mall in Lubbock, which got about a foot of snow, was closed after heavy snow collapsed part of the center's roof. No injuries were reported.
With files from CBC News