A massive tornado ripped through the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City, Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people, according to the state medical examiner's office.
The death toll was expected to rise.
Helicopter images showed large tracts of Moore, Okla., completely leveled by what the National Weather Service says was at least an EF-4 tornado with winds in excess of 166 mph. The tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes and traveled 20 miles.
Arbor Day celebrations have come and gone, but winter weather is gripping the Plains and Upper Midwest. The storm that dumped snow in the Rockies a day earlier is threatening to blanket parts of the region with up to 8 inches of snow on Thursday.
The National Weather Service warns: "Significant accumulations of snow continue to be reported across portions of southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa, with over 15 inches already in Dodge Center, (Minn.)."
Flooding continues to plague the upper Midwest, as waters crested at record highs in places and weary river-town residents watched the flood markers for signs of relief.
NPR's David Schaper, reporting from Chicago, tells our Newscast Unit that the Mississippi River continues to rise, overtopping small levees north of St. Louis. But he says some of the bigger problems are in Illinois, near the town of Peoria, where "many roads, homes and businesses are flooded, and dozens of Peoria-area residents have been evacuated."