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Blake Shelton to aid tornado victims; more severe storms ahead

May 29, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • Singers and married couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, shown at April's Country Music Awards, are scheduled to perform at a fundraiser for Oklahoma tornado victims.
Singers and married couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, shown at… (Ethan Miller / Getty Images )

Top country music stars, including Oklahoma native Blake Shelton and his Grammy Award-winning wife, Miranda Lambert, were gathering Wednesday to raise money for the tornado-ravaged state.

Set to perform during a telethon at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma City, just miles from Moore’s carnage, were other stars including Vince Gill and Reba McEntire, who are both from Oklahoma, Usher, Darius Rucker and Rascal Flatts.

The telethon is being called “Healing in the Heartland.”

A week after the deadly tornado ripped through parts of Oklahoma, killing 24 and causing $2 billion in damage, much of the Midwest again braced for another round of meteorological dangers on Wednesday, including more tornadoes and possible flooding along the Mississippi River.

Powerful storms continued to be a danger in parts of Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois and Indiana, where flood warnings were already posted, according to the National Weather Service.

“The NWS Storm Prediction Center is forecasting a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening for western and central Kansas, western and central Oklahoma and parts of north Texas and the Texas panhandle. Tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds are possible,” the weather service said on its website.

There were a slight risk of that type of serious weather in a band that stretched “across the Great Plains, as well as from the eastern Great Lakes into southern New England,” the service noted.

At least one tornado touched down in north-central Kansas overnight, damaging some homes and knocking down power lines in the rural area, the service said. A handful of farms around Corning, Kan., were struck. There were no reports of injuries or deaths.

Heavy storms were reported south of Erie, Pa., on Tuesday, a day after winds as high as 80 miles an hour tore through the Springfield, Ill., area.

Damage to trees, trailers and some utility poles was reported in Illinois. One minor injury was reported as well.

Severe weather, including heavy rains, is forecast for a zone that covers more than half of the United States as warm air from the Gulf of Mexico clashes with cooler air from Canada. Especially at risk are large parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and northwestern Arkansas.

A flood warning has been issued for the Mississippi River at the St. Louis area. The river was at 22 feet early Wednesday and is expected to peak at more than 36.8 feet by Monday, almost seven feet above flood stage, according to the weather service. A major flood would be in excess of 40 feet. The record flood of 1993 peaked at 49.6 feet.

There is a 50% chance of thunderstorms in the area Thursday and Friday and a 70% chance on Saturday.


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