Flood relief nowhere in sight for Midwest, Southeast - KMOV.com

Flood relief nowhere in sight for Midwest, Southeast

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS/AP) There's no relief in sight for the Midwest and Southeast, where torrential floods have claimed four lives.

Ten more inches of rain fell overnight. Flood warnings and watches were posted from Kansas to Tennessee Friday morning, which is being hit especially hard.

Authorities in southwest Missouri identified 69-year-old Helen Pendergraft of Noel as the woman who died before dawn Thursday as she attempted to drive across a flooded creek near the town of Jane. Early Tuesday, a 4-year-old boy and his 23-year-old mother died when their car was swept up in a flash flood in the south-central Missouri town of Waynesville.

And in Oklahoma City, a 60-year-old man drowned early Friday while trying to rescue a relative who was stranded by floodwaters. Police say the man was swept into a drainage canal and his body was found several blocks away. The relative, who was stranded in a car, escaped without injury.

In Nashville, the floodwaters began rapidly rising after dumping more than 7 inches of rain in just three hours Thursday, reporter Jennifer Reyes of CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF-TV reported on "CBS This Morning" Friday.

The downpour left cars submerged on roads and more than 100 homes and businesses completely flooded out, forcing residents to seek higher ground on rooftops until help arrived.

Adam Ghassemi, also of WTVF-TV, was at one church where workers were ripping out debris from the basement. Leaders estimate an underground creek was overwhelmed by flood water and the pressure built up so much it pushed up roughly 5 feet of raw sewage and storm water into that building.

Ghassemi added that some people were out of their homes Friday evening and staying in shelters. The problem is this could only be a break in the weather. The storm system moving east could bring 1- 3 inches to the Nashville area, and up to 8 inches in certain areas, so a lot of people Friday night are cleaning up while watching the radar.

In the Inglewood suburb of Nashville, homeowners were battling the second major flooding wave in only three years and still rebuilding from the last disaster.

"Well I think I'm still in shock," said Inglewood resident Rita Odom. "It happened. I can't believe it's happened again. The floor, it started rippling because it's a floating floor, and it was literally floating, and we put everything that we could real fast up high."

Meteorologist Craig Setzer of CBS Miami station WFOR-TV reported on "CBS This Morning" Friday that more big thunderstorms were moving across Kansas and Oklahoma that were forecast to progress into Arkansas and Missouri later in the day.

Flood advisories were in effect in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma Friday. And things could get worse: Weather models were also showing that more heavy rainfall was possible through Friday into Friday night and possibly Saturday across areas already hit hard by rain, Setzer reported.

National Weather Service meteorologist Drew Albert in Springfield, Mo., said the rain is the result of a storm front that has stalled over the plains.

"Those upper level winds really aren't pushing the front anywhere, so it's kind hanging there," Albert said.

Missouri has gotten the worst of it. Some gauges near Waynesville recorded 15 inches of rain in a two-day period. One-day totals of 6 inches or more were common across the width of the southern part of the Show-Me State.

The area near the tourist boom town of Branson, Mo., was hit especially hard early Thursday. At least 100 homes and businesses in Hollister, Mo., right next to Branson, were damaged when Turkey Creek flooded. Taney County's assistant emergency management director, Melissa Duckworth, said 26 people had to be rescued by boat, mostly from two mobile home parks. Another 50 evacuated on their own.

Boats also were brought in to rescue 15 campers who were spending the night on an island in the Elk River near the McDonald County, Mo., town of Noel. In fact, the county boat rescuing them broke down, and the rescuers themselves had to be saved by a boat from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said Greg Sweeten, emergency management director in McDonald County, Mo.

In Waynesville, authorities assume that Lee didn't survive.

"As rapid as that water was it was like a raging river," Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long said, who said the normally docile creek became akin to "a Class V whitewater river."

Interstate 44 near Jerome in south-central Missouri reopened Thursday after flood waters receded, but dozens of other roadways were closed in southern Missouri.

Other states had plenty of problems, too.

Soggy south-central Kansas was under a flood warning after up to 6 inches of rain fell early Thursday in the center of the state. Since the storms began Sunday, hundreds of Kansas homes have been damaged, mostly by water in basements and sewage backups, said Megan Hammersmith, director of the Central Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross.

An estimated 10 inches of rain fell overnight Wednesday in parts Benton County, Ark., prompting the county to declare an emergency. Benton County Emergency Management director Robert McGowen said crews have performed 15 water rescues. More than three dozen roads and bridges were closed, but no injuries were reported.

Heavy rain in Tennessee also triggered flash flooding that required several water rescues. Nashville firefighters waded into waist-deep water to lead residents of one apartment complex to higher ground. Others in the region had to be rescued from balconies and rooftops. High water even stopped traffic near the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

In Oklahoma, Joe Dan Morgan, emergency management director for Ottawa County said up to 6 inches of rain caused flash flooding in the Miami area, and more rain was coming.

"There's not much we can do, sit and wait," Morgan said. "We've warned everybody to be careful. When you're in low-lying areas use that old adage, 'turn around, don't drown.'"

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