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By Doha Madani and Associated Press
Severe storms have stretched across the nation on Tuesday, including tornadoes in Kansas and Pennsylvania, while catastrophic flooding puts other states at risk. It’s only the latest outbreak of extreme weather that’s been plaguing the U.S. for nearly two weeks.
Tuesday’s violent weather marks the 13th consecutive day of such severe storms, coming a day after a series of devastating tornadoes hit western Ohio late Monday. That dangerous streak included an average of 27.5 tornadoes occurring each day.
Storms capable of producing hail, damaging wings and tornadoes have hit from the Central Plains into the mid-Atlantic, according to the National Weather Service. Police confirmed Tuesday evening that a tornado hit the south west of Lawrence, Kansas, in the eastern part of the state.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for the areas around Kansas City and urged residents to take shelter, advising them to seek the lowest level in the most interior room.
The agency also predicted that tornadoes may strike across the Upper Ohio Valley and Northeast States into Tuesday evening. Extreme weather warnings were issued across the state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, including tornado warnings for Scranton, Dunmore, Wilkes-Barre and the Poconos.
Officials confirmed that a large and “extremely dangerous” tornado was approaching the Scranton area in the evening.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for parts of New Jersey as well.
At least one person died and 12 others were injured late Monday night after a tornado devastated the Dayton, Ohio, area. The National Weather Service confirmed a “large and dangerous” tornado on the ground near the Dayton suburb of Trotwood in Montgomery County just after 11 p.m.
The weather service issued 36 tornado warnings overnight Monday across the region.
A twister touched down in Pendleton, about 35 miles from Indianapolis, on Monday evening. At least 75 homes were damaged there and in nearby Huntsville, said Madison County Emergency Management spokesman Todd Harmeson. No serious injuries were reported.
Intense rain in Kansas and northeast Oklahoma have strained aging dams and levees, and a reservoir in Oklahoma that drains a massive watershed hit record water levels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a large dam to control the river flow, which put Fort Smith — the second-largest city in Arkansas — in the path of record-breaking flooding expected to last all week.
“The whole purpose of a dam is to capture that flood water and not let it run freely down the river,” said Preston Chasteen, deputy chief of public affairs for the Corps’ Tulsa District. “If these dams weren’t in place to control these releases, I think the circumstances would be far worse than they currently are.”