Authorities said Thursday that flooding from heavy rain and melting snow has sent some rivers over their banks and has closed roads in parts of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
A third death was reported in the Nebraska Pandhandle, where a woman perished Tuesday when she tried to trudge through a blinding snowstorm from her disabled car to her house a mile away.
On Wednesday, seven members of the Sullivan, Mo., municipal airport board were gathered at the airport Wednesday night for a meeting. A member noticed what looked like funnel clouds over the 7,000-resident town about 65 miles southwest of St. Louis. Then, a wind-blown pickup truck then scooted by — without a driver. The gust was clocked at 101 mph.
"The city administrator said his ears were popping, then all of a sudden the building shook and the windows shook," board member Larry Cuneio said. "I'm the street commissioner and I've seen wind do a lot of things, but never anything like this."
Across the Mississippi River in Alton, Ill., Dave Grounds was watching TV when he heard the rain suddenly intensify, followed by winds that he said had "incredible resonance."
"That's when the house started shaking violently, like it was grabbed by both sides," said Grounds, a judge for Madison County's juvenile court. "I thought it was an earthquake, and that's when things started collapsing."
Two large trees — one oak and the other ash, each a century old — toppled onto one end of his house of 43 years, caving in his bedroom and crushing two of his vehicles.
"Electricity lines came down and started sparking like it was the Fourth of July, and the whole house filled with smoke," said Grounds, 64.
At least eight homes were damaged in the St. Louis neighborhood known as the Hill, famous for its Italian heritage and restaurants. Mobile homes were blown over in parts of Franklin and Washington counties, not far from St. Louis.
Fuchs said the storm, which affected numerous states, was the result of a clash of warm and cold air — typical for spring.
A tornado with winds of 111-135 mph hit Botkinburg in north-central Arkansas on Wednesday and injured four people, National Weather Service forecasters said Thursday. It was rated as an EF-2 storm on a scale measuring tornado severity. EF-5 is the highest. Wednesday's storm was 400 yards wide at its peak.
In South Dakota, snow and ice shut down several roads, including Interstate 90 for a time.
The weather service said the system could extend into flood-prone southeastern North Dakota, where about 3 to 5 inches of snow is expected through late Thursday.
"Any additional precipitation at this stage in the game is not necessarily a good thing," said Peter Rogers in Grand Forks.
In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency Thursday after a spring snowstorm heaped more headaches on the southwest corner of Minnesota, where communities are still struggling to restore power following an ice storm earlier in the week. Officials said it might be early next week before electricity was restored in the southwest.
Associated Press writers Jim Suhr and Jim Salter in St. Louis; Jeff Amy in Jackson; Blake Nicholson in Bismarck, N.D.; Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis; Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee; David Runk in Detroit;; and Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala., contributed to this report.