At least 7 dead as severe weather hits the Plains; storms next headed to East Coast

The tornadoes hit Missouri on the anniversary of a disastrous 2011 outbreak.

May 23, 2019, 1:30 AM

At least seven people are dead -- five in Missouri, one in Oklahoma and one in Iowa -- after severe weather hit the Plains this week.

At least 80 tornadoes were reported across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska within two days. On Wednesday alone, there were 22 reported tornadoes in Oklahoma and Missouri.

The damage Wednesday night was mostly concentrated in Missouri's Jasper and Howard counties.

There were three deaths in the area of Golden City, about 45 minutes northeast of Joplin, and several injuries in Carl Junction, a suburb of Joplin, according to the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

PHOTO: This image taken from video provided by KOCO-5 shows homes dangerously close to the Cimarron River, May 22, 2019, near Crescent, Oka.
This image taken from video provided by KOCO-5 shows homes dangerously close to the Cimarron River, May 22, 2019, near Crescent, Oka. Waterlogged parts of the central U.S. were bracing Wednesday for more rain, following days of severe storms that have battered Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
KOCO-5 via AP

Local authorities confirmed four deaths on Tuesday, including a woman who drove around a barricade and drowned in floodwaters in Perkins, Oklahoma; a 74-year-old woman who died as a result of her home being hit by a reported tornado in Adair, Iowa; and two deaths were attributed to a car accident in heavy rain near Springfield, Missouri.

Storm damage from a suspected tornado in Wright County at the Town and Country Supermarket in Hartville, Mo., May 21, 2019.
Missouri State Highway Patrol via AP

There was also concern in Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, where two barges broke free in swift water on the Arkansas River Wednesday evening and officials feared they could take out a dam downriver.

"Evacuate Webbers Falls immediately," the town said on its Facebook page. "The barges are loose and has the potential to hit the lock and dam 16. if the dam breaks it will be catastrophic!! Leave now!!"

Flood alerts were in effect in the Plains Wednesday. Another 4 inches of rain is expected in some of the already-flooded areas in the next 48 hours.

A house damaged in a tornado, May 20, 2019, in Mangum, Okla., is pictured from the air, May 21. A strong band of storms has spawned more than 30 tornadoes across the central U.S.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
Hay bales and equipment are pictured in a flooded field, May 21, 2019, in Kingfisher, Okla. Flooding following heavy rains was an issue across the state.
Sue Ogrocki/AP

Joplin was the site of a catastrophic tornado, exactly eight years ago, on May 22, 2011. More than 150 people were killed in that natural disaster.

On Thursday, part of the storm system moves into the Northeast and brings a chance for severe weather from West Virginia to New England.

The Northeast is most at-risk for wind gusts, heavy rain, scattered hail and tornadoes during Thursday afternoon and evening.

The Plains will remain at risk for large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes at that time, too.

ABC News' Will Gretsky, Marilyn Heck, Reed Mcdonough and Melissa Griffin contributed to this report.

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