Storms cause injuries, outages across Middle America

Northwest Storm

Oklahoma emergency officials say more than 50 people have been injured and about 175,000 are without power after a powerful winter storm blanketed much of the state with ice and brought flooding to eastern parts of the state.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain says there were no immediate reports of weather-related deaths, but the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is searching for two hunters missing in Kay County.

Patrol spokesman Lt. John Vincent says the men were reportedly in a boat on Kaw Lake. Vincent says rescuers found the capsized boat, but there were no signs of the men. The search resumed at daybreak Monday.

Car accidents from icy roads were reported across mostly central and western Oklahoma.

Eastbound Interstate 40 is being reopened in eastern New Mexico after an extended closure due to the major storm that pummeled parts of the state.

The Department of Transportation says the freeway initially reopened Monday morning in Santa Rosa and Tucumcari. The next stages being reopened by late Monday morning are in Moriarity and Albuquerque.

The department also says its crews worked throughout the night to clear the highway, which was closed in eastern New Mexico over the weekend.

Elsewhere, some highways remain icy and snow-packed and the department is advising drivers to use caution.

Residents in and around the small St. Louis-area town of West Alton are evacuating as the Mississippi River nears a potential record crest.

An unusual amount of late-fall rain had the river already high before torrential downpours that began Saturday. Some parts of eastern Missouri have received 6 inches of rain or more over the past three days. Heavy rain was falling again Monday.

West Alton officials on Sunday ordered evacuations, saying the expected crest of 38.9 feet on Thursday will top the levee by nearly 5 feet.

West Alton, about 20 miles north of St. Louis, has about 520 residents.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama, say a tornado has been reported in northwest Florida.

Gene Jacobi says there have been no reports of injuries or property damage in Molino.

Forecasters say the line of severe weather is expected to make its way across the Panhandle on Monday. Some areas have reported local flooding from heavy rains overnight and the previous week.

On Pensacola Beach, the National Park Service closed some flood-prone roads in Gulf Islands National Seashore because of potential flooding.

Oklahoma highway officials say many roads are impassable because of wintry weather, downed power lines or flooding.

Parts of western and central Oklahoma are under a winter storm warning until midday Monday, while flooding is a major concern in the southern and eastern part of the state.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says roads in northwest Oklahoma and Interstate 35 in central Oklahoma are slick and hazardous.

The National Weather Service says "disastrous" flooding will occur in eastern Oklahoma, where some areas received up to a foot of rain over the weekend. The state DOT says high water has caused the closure of some roads in counties in the southern and eastern part of the state.

Parts of 11 states in the middle of the country are under a winter storm warning as the weather system that spawned tornadoes in Texas and flooding in Missouri moves on.

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