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Missing couple found dead in submerged car brings death toll to 9 from storms
The bodies of a man and a woman were discovered Friday in a submerged vehicle near the Mississippi River in Missouri, bringing the death toll to nine from storms that have ravaged the central US this week and threaten major flooding through the holiday weekend.
John Reinhardt, 20, and Caitlin Frangel, 19, both of Hazelwood, Missouri, were reported missing on May 15.
Their bodies were found around 4am on a flooded rural road running along the river at Portage Des Sioux , about 40 miles north of St. Louis.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Dallas Thompson said an autopsy determined they both drowned.
'We believe they went into the dark, not knowing the roadway was flooded, and they
John Reinhardt ”
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Their bodies were found in a submerged vehicle around 4am on Friday along a flooded rural road on the river at Portage Des Sioux, about 40 miles north of St. Louis
A pickup truck evacuates from an area in north Jefferson City Missouri as floodwaters from the Mi ssouri River over the road on Friday
In this aerial image, homes are inundated with flood waters from the Arkansas River near South 145th West near Highway 51 on Thursday
A truck is seen overturned near the remains of the Donnie Braun and Sons Auto Repair on Thursday
Dee Raithel sorts through the storage unit looking for her possessions in Jefferson City, Missouri
On Friday, authorities reported that an elderly couple was hurled 600ft from their home and another woman died in her mobile home when tornadoes ripped through the state.
Kenneth Harris, 86, and his wife Opal, 83, were discovered hundreds of feet from their home in Golden City, while Betty Berg, 56, died when her tiny house was wrecked on Thursday.
The Midwest storms killed another two people in Missouri earlier this week, as well as one death in Oklahoma and another in Iowa.
Heavy rain in recent weeks has spurred major flooding in several states
Flooding along the Arkansas River will threaten communities from Tulsa into western Arkansas through at least the weekend weekend, officials said Friday, as water released from an Oklahoma dam combines with additional rain in the forecast. Jefferson City, Missouri on Thursday ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />
Debris from houses ripped open by the ferocious 160mph winds of the twister is strewn across a residential street in the state capital Jefferson City, Missour i on Thursday
Buildings were totally gutted by the twister which tore through the city of around 42,000 just before midnight on Wednesday, as authorities warned residents to barricade themselves inside  To control flooding in Tulsa, the US Army Corps of Engineers on Friday started increasing the amount of water being released into the river from the Keystone Dam northwest of the city of about 400,000 people.
'The dam is doing what it is is supposed to do. It has maintained the flood to a manageable level, 'said Oklahoma US Sen. James Lankford, following an aerial tour of the region.
The river in Tulsa was just above 22 feet Friday, four feet above flood stage, and was expected to remain at that level through Tuesday.
Riverside residents were urged to leave their homes and at least one oil refinery suspended operations.
'The most disturbing thing I heard in the last 24 hours from our first responders are reports of parents letting their kids play in the river, 'Tulsa Mayor GT said Bynum.
'If you're a parent that's letting your kid play right now, you should be ashamed of yourself.' Missouri Capitol was damaged after the tornado tore through Jefferson City – scaffolding that covered parts of the building as it undergoes a renovation was damaged during the storm ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />
Missouri Capitol was damaged after the tornado through Jefferson City – scaffolding that covered parts of the building as undergoes a renovation was damaged during the storm
Cars, including heavy trucks, were tossed around in a Toyota dealership by the powerful winds of the EF-3 tornado
Debris from a building which was torn down by the twister is strewn across a parking lot in Jefferson City
Carey Riley looks over the damaged cars at a Toyota dealership he owns with his two brothers
the water moves downstream.
Gov Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency Friday to lift hurdles in state agencies to assist flooded areas along the Arkansas River.
The proclamation came after he ordered the state's National Guard to station high-water rescue teams in the western part of the state by Saturday and the Corps of Engineers warned residents to stay off the river during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  'We hope people are getting to safer areas now,' said Aric Mitchell with the Fort Smith, Arkansas, police department.
The Arkansas River is expected to reach 41 feet by Sunday near Fort Smith, which is the state's second largest city with nearly 89,000 residents.
That's nearly 20 feet above flood stage and 3 feet above the record of 38.1 feet set in 1945.
'Nearby business, residences could be flooded … it's going to be a mess,' said National Weather Service meteorologist Pete Snyder. 'We haven't seen this high before. It's a different situation than we've ever seen. '
The concerns in Oklahoma and Arkansas follow days of severe storms that exacerbated spring flooding throughout the Midwest and spawned dozens of tornadoes.
Jefferson City, Missouri : Carnage: A home-examined by emergency responders on Thursday ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />
Carnage: A home-examined by emergency responders on Thursday
Chase Burgoon stands in his front yard as water approaches in the Meadow Valley neighborhood of Sand Springs, Oklahoma on Thursday David Freeman makes his way through his front yard in Sperry, Oklahoma on Thursday [David] makes his way through his front yard in Sperry, Oklahoma on Thursday ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />
David Freeman makes his way More rain is likely through the weekend from western Texas through Illinois, according to weather service meteorologist Matt Mosier with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
On Friday, floodwaters from the Missouri River to live at Jefferson City and prompted some streets around the state to shut down, as residents worked to clean up from one of the twister s, which cut a 3-mile long path through the city earlier this week.
Jefferson City's airport already had been evacuated, but other residents and workers drove precariously through flooded roads to escape the rising waters.
The Capitol building seat on a bluff on the south side of the river and is not in danger of flooding.
The tornado had also damaged the Missouri headquarters for the Special Olympics, prompting the organization Friday to cancel its summer games
Damaged homes near the intersection of Marshall Street and East Capitol Ave in Jefferson City, Missouri are pictured Thursday
Both cars and homes were destroyed in the devastating tornado that hit Jefferson City on Thur sday night
Chaos : Flooded rivers in Oklahoma sparked two runaway barges – while dozens of homes were ruined by water
Friends and family of the owners of Campus Space on Capitol Ave in Jefferson City, Missouri on Thursday
Residents of the state capital around 150 miles away in Jefferson City were warned to barricade themselves inside the twister tossed cars across a dealership lot, injuring about two dozen people.
The National Weather Service confirmed that a large and destructive twister moved over the city of around 42,000 shortly before midnight on Wednesday.
Police Lt David Williams said the tornado cut a path about 3 miles long and a mile wide from the south end of Jefferson City north toward the Missouri River.
Emergency workers reported about two boxes injuries, Williams said, and around 100 of people went to shelters.
Hospitals reported treating injuries such as cuts and bruises
There were immediate reports of any deaths or missing people in the capital and it appeared everyone was accounted for after-through checks that were nearly complete Thursday evening , Williams said.
Damaged car with a piece of wood smashed through the windscreen is seen parked on Woodlawn Avenue in Jefferson City Thursday
Jessica Rodgers and neighboring Ray Arellana carry a stroller carrying Rodgers 'sister Sophia Rodgers over downed power lines as they head to Rodgers' mother's apartment Donald Trump pledged his support, alongside Governor Mike Parson, following the devastating floods plaguing the region ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />
Donald Trump pledged his support, alongside Governor Mike Parson, following the devastating floods plaguing the region
Vehicles damaged by a tornado sit in the parking lot of the Missouri Department of Social Services building on Flora Drive on Thursday morning  Many in Jefferson City considered themselves fortunate to survive.
David Surprenant watched the storm approach then rushed to join his family in the basement. By then, the windows had started shattering and the pressure dropped.
'It was just the worst sound ever, and the field like it was taking your breath right out of you,' Surprenant, 34, said. He and his family were unharmed
Kevin Riley operates a car dealership next to Surprenant's home, where he sells Chevys and Toyotas. He is the director of the University of the United States, and he may have saved her life.
Lincoln University President Jerald Woolfolk rescues the tornado in the basement or her official residence.
University spokeswoman Misty Young Duty the Jefferson City News Tribune that home, built 103 years ago, was so badly damaged it appeared to be uninhabitable.
Weather forecasters had been tracking the storm before it arrived, and sirens first sounded in Jefferson City at 11.10pm – about 30 minutes before the first property damage.
Governor Mike Parson credited the warning system for saving lives.
Vehicles damaged by a tornado sit in the parking lot of the Missouri Department of Social Services building on Flora Drive on Thursday morning
This shocking drone footage has revealed the devastation caused by a monster tornado which ripped through Jefferson City in Missouri
Homes destroyed: A relentless barrage of violent weather in the central US left three people dead. Houses were ripped apart with roofs torn away amid the devastating winds that struck Jefferson City in Missouri overnight Wednesday
Destruction: Buildings are seen torn open and belongings scattered across the road following the series of tornadoes which have battered the Heartland along with flash flooding homes and livelihoods . The damage left behind by the twister is pictured above in Jefferson City on Thursday morning
This map shows the location and number of tornadoes to hit the Midwest in the past 48 hours
President Donald Trump tweeted the Governor to say: Missouri as they woke up to assess the damage from storms. You are strong and resilient, and we are here to assist. "
The NWS said preliminary information indicates that Jefferson City was an EF-3, which typically carry winds up to 160mph
The severe weather moved in from Oklahoma, where rescuers struggled to pull people from high water.
Kerry Ann Demetrius locked herself in the bathroom or her Jefferson City apartment as the storm approached.
'It sounded like stuff was being thrown around, everything was just banging together, and then it just went dead silent, 'she said. She was emerging from the apartment building, which had been blown off.
Another natural disaster could be in Jefferson City. Most of the city, including the tornado-ravaged section, sits on a bluff overlooking the south side of the Missouri River.
But the swollen river is projected to top on the north side of the river by Friday, potentially flooding the city's airport, which has already been evacuated.
The Missouri Office of Administration said several state office buildings were sustained damage, mostly roof damage.
A tornado also skipped through the town of Eldon, population 4,900, about 30 miles outside of Jefferson City, where it damaged the business district and tore up several neighborhoods, Miller County Emergency Management Director Mike Rayhart said.
But Mayor Larry Henderson said people in Eldon were counting their blessing, despite the damage, just one man was hurt, when the wind flipped his truck. Henderson did not have any details about the man's injuries.
A twister also caused damage and several injuries in the town of Carl Junction, not far from Joplin, on the eighth anniversary of the catastrophic tornado that killed 161 people in that city.
Police Chief Delmar Haase said nearly three homes had significant damage and several people sustained minor injuries. He estimated total damage in Carl Junction was 'in the millions'.
The NWS said the EF-3 tornado that hit Carl Junction was among four tornadoes that hit that area of the state Wednesday night over a path of roughly 50 miles.
Jefferson City's damage spanned about a 3-mile area, said Police Lt David Williams
About 20 people were rescued by emergency personnel, and although there were no reports of missing people, authorities planned by-to-by checks Thursday, he said. Floodwaters cover a stretch of road in the Indian Springs Country Club in Broken Arrow Oklahoma ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />