Severe Weather: 2 Dead in Arkansas, Mo. Residents Flee Flooding

St. Louis cleans up after tornado leveled homes, damaged airport.

ByABC News
April 25, 2011, 5:41 PM

April 25, 2011— -- At least two people have been killed in Arkansas during the recent round of heavy storms and tornadoes that ripped through the midwest while Missouri residents flee from flooding, authorities said.

Arkansas authorities told the Associated Press the two people were killed following the severe storms that passed through the state.

In Missouri's Poplar Bluff, residents evacuated amid fears of the flooding, the Associated Press reported.

Water began to leak and overflow the levee holding back the Black River, officials said.

Tornadoes were forming over Dallas late Monday afternoon, as the weather there turned ominous, threatened by a storm system that has brought 200 reports of severe weather across the country over the last 24 hours.

The threatening skies over Dallas prompted authorities to warn people to take cover just before a tornado touched down near the town of Cleburne, Texas. The same system that brought those twisters is also bringing torrential rain that has prompted flood warnings in 17 states.

The storms around Texas are part of a system expected to sweep across a broad part of the country including the southern Great Plains, the lower Mississippi Valley and into the Gulf Coast and the Tennessee Valley.

With all that activity and the storms that have already hit, Storm Prediction Center lead forecaster John Hart said we could see a record month.

So far, 292 tornadoes have touched down this April, killing 39 people.

"It may very well end up being more tornado reports in April than we've seen before," Hart said. "We do seem to be on track for a record in that respect."

Meanwhile, in the St. Louis area, people are recovering in the wake of a monster tornado -- the worst in nearly a half century -- that damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and ripped through the major airport over the weekend.

In Missouri, new damage totals show some 2,700 buildings damaged and 100 homes destroyed around St. Louis, including Marcy Baker's house.

She was spending Easter weekend in Dallas with her family when she got a call that her house had been hit. She drove 12 hours back to St. Louis to find her house destroyed.

"I have a 15-month-old, I'm pregnant. It's devastating," Baker said.

At a nearby Catholic church, the 40-foot steeple toppled during the tornado that struck in the middle of Good Friday services.

Sally Ward was at church on Friday watching the movie "The Passion of the Christ," when she got a simple text message: ""

"A text message and a phone call from my daughter saved my life," she told ABC News. "And we didn't have 30 seconds to get to [the] basement before that tornado hit."

Power was knocked out to as many as 47,000 customers in the St. Louis area after the tornado. On Sunday, some 26,000 customers remained without power and officials said many could remain in the dark until Monday. No one was killed and a handful of injuries were reported.

At Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, surveillance video captured the exact moment a 135-mile-an-hour tornado struck, ripping off the roof and sending metal flying. Officials are fixing hundreds of panes of broken glass. It could take months and millions of dollars to complete the cleanup.

Flights were getting back to normal today after the airport reopened late Saturday.

Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said the continuing repairs to the airport shouldn't affect travelers.

"The majority of the windows are boarded up, still doing just a little bit of work on that but the airport itself is structurally sound," she said.

Yet despite all this, victims are counting their blessings. There were no reported deaths as a result of the tornado.

"It's a miracle out of all the devastation," said St. Louis resident Terry Hayes, whose home was leveled by the storm. "There were absolutely no fatalities, and very few injuries."

ABC News' Jacob Beckman, Dean Schabner, Leezel Tanglao and Michael Murray contributed to this report.