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Five killed in Texas tornadoes; rains, winds lash U.S. midsection: media

News 30 Apr 2017

By Alex Dobuzinskis

Tornadoes killed five people east of Dallas in Texas, local media reported on Saturday, as heavy rains and damaging winds struck a broad swath of the U.S. heartland.

At least three tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service in nearby Canton, with about 50 people being treated for related injuries at area hospitals, news outlets reported, citing hospital officials.

Media, including CBS News' local affiliate in Dallas-Ft. Worth, and WFAA-TV, which cited the chief of Canton's fire department, reported late Saturday that five people were confirmed dead as tornadoes struck Canton, a city about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Dallas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the Texas Task Force 2 had been dispatched to the area to aid in relief efforts.

Pictures and video posted online showed cars flipped over and two story houses in the area all but destroyed.

Widespread damage was also reported in nearby Eustace, Fruitvale and Caney City.

Downpours that began on Friday were so intense the ground was unable to absorb the rainfall, making flooding highly likely, said meteorologist Kenneth James of the Weather Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service.

More than six inches of rain fell in some areas, flooding roads and prompting evacuations, meteorologists said.

The governors of Missouri and Oklahoma on Saturday declared states of emergency due to flooding.

"The massive storm system has delivered widespread rain and high winds across much of the state since Friday, with damage to power lines and power poles as well as trees, roofs and structures," said Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

In the St. Louis area, severe thunderstorms are forecast through Sunday. Some people were told to evacuate and 33 rescues were conducted, mostly in the state's central and southwestern regions, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said.

Parts of Indiana have received up to 8 inches (20 cm) of rain while areas in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas have been drenched with up to 4 inches (10 cm), James said.

Heavy rainfall in the Midwest is expected to continue into Sunday, along with wind gusts of 60 miles (95 km) per hour.

On Friday night, a tornado in Lawrence, Illinois, damaged outbuildings and snapped trees, James said.

Airline delays nationwide affected more than 3,700 flights, according to tracking service FlightAware.

A storm has dumped snow in Colorado and Wyoming, with the greatest accumulation in Lander, Wyoming, which had 33 inches (84 cm), James said.

(Editing by Chris Michaud and Sam Holmes)

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