Weekend Storms in Midwest, South Leave At Least 12 Dead

With a dozen people dead from weekend flooding in the Midwest and South, residents were busy shoveling mud from homes and businesses that were inundated with water.

At least 8 deaths were reported in Kentucky after flooding triggered by 5 to 10 inches of rain sent rivers and creeks over their banks. Fifteen counties and four cities declared states of emergency, said Buddy Rogers of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.

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Every business in the small far western Kentucky city of Fulton was flooded by four feet of water from Harris Fork Creek, authorities said.

"It looks like everything's kind of quieting down," Buddy Rogers, a spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management in Frankfort, said Sunday as floodwaters began to recede.

High water remained across Kentucky on Monday, and while some flood warnings were still in effect, creeks and rivers had nearly all crested, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms that hit parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee on Friday and Saturday stranded people in cars, forced others from their homes and left thousands without power.

The death toll in Kentucky reached 8, including a father and his 1-year-old daughter in a truck that skidded in floodwaters. Two deaths were reported in Arkansas, and in Illinois, authorities say lightning was the apparent cause of a house fire that killed elderly two women.

In northern Arkansas, the search for a man who was swept away when the Spring River overflowed its banks was to resume Monday. Jackie Richardson, a retired firefighter, went missing Saturday at the River Bend Park campgrounds in Hardy where he spends his summers doing carpentry. Rescuers searched by foot and boat and with dogs but could not find him over the weekend.

With the floods, campers were stranded at the private campgrounds.

"People were hanging from trees," Hardy Fire Chief Lonnie Phelps said. "The river came up quick."

Arkansas rivers swelled up to 8 feet above flood levels, officials said. Campers at River Bend Park were asked to evacuate.

"I didn't think we were going to make it out of there," said Charles Lenderman, who awoke Saturday morning to find knee-high water in his camper's kitchen. Lenderman and family members — wearing life jackets — swam from the camper to higher ground about 100 yards away.

Flood warnings remained in effect Monday for six counties in northeastern Arkansas for high water along the Black, Cache and White rivers.

The National Weather Service reported that areas of Kentucky received at least 5 inches of rain, with isolated regions getting close to 10 inches. Over 24 hours, parts of northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri received more than 10 inches of rain, the weather service reported.

In central and eastern Missouri, nearly 400 structures were damaged or destroyed and at least 10 people were injured by about 10tornadoes, officials said.