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New storms bring fresh floods to soaked Plains

Strong thunderstorms brought more flooding to an already soaked Oklahoma on Tuesday, causing some damage and leading to the closure of several highways.
Ryan Gunning, 5, of Flower Mound, Texas, looks at floodwater on Lake Texoma in Pottsboro, Texas, on Tuesday.Lm Otero / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Strong thunderstorms brought more flooding to an already soaked state Tuesday, causing some damage and leading to the closure of several highways.

Forecasters warned of the potential for storms through the rest of the week. On Tuesday, the bad weather began firing up in southeastern Oklahoma in the late afternoon, with one producing winds of 67 mph.

Severe weather on the Plains dropped more than rain, including a tornado in North Dakota that injured four people near White Shield on Monday evening. High winds in the Fargo area knocked out power to more than 6,000 people, toppling trees and power lines.

Back in Oklahoma, the roof was blown off an office building in Eufaula as a tornado or straight-line winds blew through. In Muskogee County, the roof of a church was blown off, and several houses were damaged.

Meanwhile, in hard-hit Coffeyville, Kan., flooded-out residents were told they would be allowed to return to their homes Wednesday to salvage what was left of their possessions. The Verdigris River had topped levees, mixing with oil from a refinery spill and raw sewage to create a toxic soup that drenched homes and businesses for days.

“When you go into your residence, I can’t prepare you enough for what some of you will see,” said Mayor Virgil Horn, whose own home was flooded.

The new rains in Oklahoma raised the level of a privately owned lake in Norman enough to begin eroding an earthen berm, releasing water into low-lying, heavily wooded areas, said Dave Grizzle, the city’s emergency management coordinator.

No homes were in danger of flooding, but some might lose access to outside roads.

At least one family and some animals in Newcastle, southwest of Oklahoma City, had to evacuate Tuesday morning because of high waters caused by about 4 inches of overnight rain.

Farther south, the main road in and out of Washington, Okla., was closed because of a flooded creek. Four families evacuated, emergency officials said.

More than 13,000 electricity customers statewide lost power, although nearly all had had service restored by Tuesday afternoon.

In Texas, storms also caused some flooding, stranding motorists in high water, police said. A round of strong storms moved through North Texas on Tuesday evening, leading to flash flood warnings.