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Storms bring more than 30 tornadoes across central US, damaging homes

A strong band of storms brought more than 30 tornadoes across the central US, damaged homes in Oklahoma, demolished a racetrack grandstand in Missouri and drenched waterlogged states with more water and more flooding.

The severe weather started in the Southern Plains today and moved to the northeast.

A tornado today near Tulsa International Airport injured one person and damaged about a dozen homes. The airport was unscathed, but passengers were moved into shelters for about 30 minutes and several flights were delayed.

Tulsa Area Emergency Management spokeswoman Kim MacLeod said crews rescued a man who was pinned under a tree. In Arkansas, crews were working to free a woman trapped under a tree topped by strong winds. Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Melody Daniel said the woman was alert and talking.

Storms flipped campers at Lucas Oil Speedway in Hickory County, Missouri, injuring seven people, four of whom were taken to hospitals.

Another twister hit a hit a drive-thru wild animal park in southern Missouri. Webster County Emergency Management Director Tom Simmons said buildings were damaged at the Wild Animal Safari near Strafford, but there were no reports that people or animals were injured.

Simmons said about a half-dozen homes were damaged in the county. A tractor-trailer was blown off a highway.

Flooding was also an issue. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 40 in El Reno, about 40 kilometres west of Oklahoma City, because of high water. The National Weather Service says up to 13 centimetres of rain had fallen. In El Reno and Stillwater, home to Oklahoma State University about 88 kilometres northeast of Oklahoma City, emergency responders rescued people from their homes.

In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency, citing worsening flood concerns and soil inundation, as well as forecasts calling severe storms and possible tornadoes into Wednesday morning. Parson cited numerous instances of flash flooding.

"The very heavy rainfall yesterday and today, combined with saturated soil and very high water levels on many rivers and streams have created dangerous conditions around the state," Parson, a Republican, said in a statement.

With a potentially dangerous storm bearing down on St. Louis, baseball's Cardinals were taking no chances, calling off a game against the cross-state rival Kansas City Royals. Forecasters were warning of potentially strong storms expected to arrive at downtown St. Louis shortly after the game was scheduled to start.

Heavy snow melt from the north and significant spring rains have led to waves of flooding in Missouri, and President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for 13 counties in the state damaged by March flooding.

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    Storms across Oklahoma and Missouri have seen dozens of tornadoes touch down damaging homes. Source: Associated Press