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US storms kill one, disrupt flights

[CHICAGO] Flooding caused by heavy rains on Wednesday claimed one life and led to evacuations and travel disruptions in the central United States.

From Texas to Wisconsin, flooding affected various communities along a north-south path more than 1,600km in length.

Evacuations were reported in Kansas and one person was killed by floodwaters in Austin, Texas.

"This is a long haul event, so be prepared for more rain and more flooding," the National Weather Service warned on Twitter.

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The weather service predicted that rainfall amounts of 13 to 25cm would inundate portions of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi through the weekend.

Texas appeared home to some of the hardest-hit communities Wednesday. Severe thunderstorms struck across the state's eastern sections and hundreds of flights were canceled at Dallas and Houston airports.

In Austin, rescuers pulled the body of an unidentified man in his 50s from a swollen waterway in the city's downtown, according to officials and media reports.

Officials said Houston, which was inundated in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey, was experiencing flooding in some areas that left motorists stranded.

Hundreds of students were also stuck at a Houston school during the night while their campus was surrounded by floodwaters.

More heavy rain was expected there over the next few days.

Rising waters were also battering parts of the Midwest that had already experienced recording-breaking floods this spring.

Much of Nebraska and parts of Iowa were hardest hit in the earlier floods, which killed at least three people and caused losses estimated at more than US$1 billion.

Tornados struck rural areas of Oklahoma during the latest weather disturbances.

In Kansas, the city of Wellington experienced severe flooding that damaged homes and vehicles, according to television station KAKE. Officials ordered evacuations in some areas of the state.

"Lots of additional rain is expected in the next few days. Flash flooding is a very real threat," the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency said.

Forecasters even predicted spring snow in the northern-most reaches of the central US.

AFP