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Heavy Rains Unleash Deadly Midwest Flooding

August 8, 2013

By Jim Salter, AP

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ST. LOUIS - Torrential rains continued across the nation`s midsection on Thursday, causing flash flooding that killed a woman, damaged homes and forced multiple water rescues.

Up to 10 inches of rain pounded southern Missouri early Thursday. A woman died near Jane, Mo., in the far southwestern corner of the state when creek water washed over a highway, sweeping away her car.

"Early this morning it just unleashed," said Greg Sweeten, emergency management director in McDonald County, Mo.

Authorities in the south-central Missouri town of Waynesville continued to search for 23-year-old Jessica D. Lee, whose car was swept up in a flash flood early Tuesday. The body of her 4-year-old son, Elyjah, was found Tuesday, hours after his mother made a distress call from her cell phone.

Flash flood warnings were common in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. And things could get worse: Heavy rain is in the forecast into the weekend.

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 in parts of Benton County, Ark., where 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.

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AP reporter Maria Sudekum Fisher contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Story image: A Missouri state trooper watches over Interstate 44 near Jerome, Mo., where the confluence of the Gasconade River and Little Piney Creek shut down the interstate. AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen

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