Severe weather aftermath

Michelle Underwood searches Tuesday through the wreckage of a feed store where she stored most of her belongings in Peggs, Okla. A tornado touched down near Tulsa International Airport amid storms in the Southern Plains that brought a deluge of rain and powerful winds, closing an interstate and flipping campers at a raceway.

ST. LOUIS — A dangerous storm system in the Midwest produced dozens of tornadoes for the second consecutive day Tuesday, demolishing a racetrack grandstand and damaging buildings in a wild animal park in Missouri but sparing St. Louis, the biggest city in its path.

Two deaths, both in Missouri, were blamed on the severe weather that started in the Southern Plains Monday night and moved to the northeast. Missouri and parts of Illinois and Arkansas were in the crosshairs Tuesday. By Wednesday, the storm will move into Great Lakes region, where it will weaken. But another storm system was gathering steam for later this week, potentially covering an area from Texas to Chicago, according to the National Weather Service.

The skies grew dark over St. Louis before nightfall Tuesday and a tornado warning was issued for the city and surrounding suburbs, but the storm passed overhead without producing the rotation that often spawns tornadoes and the city was mostly spared except for heavy rain.

“The danger has passed for the St. Louis area,” said National Weather Service St. Louis meteorologist Jason Gasselin.

The weather service Storm Prediction Center website listed 37 reports of tornadoes on Tuesday in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

A tornado early Tuesday near Tulsa International Airport injured one person and damaged about a dozen homes. The airport was unscathed, but passengers were moved into shelters for about 30 minutes and several flights were delayed.

Tulsa Area Emergency Management spokeswoman Kim MacLeod said crews rescued a man who was pinned under a tree.

Storms Monday evening flipped campers at Lucas Oil Speedway in Hickory County, Missouri, injuring seven people, four of whom were taken to hospitals. The speedway's grandstand also was destroyed, forcing cancellation of racing this weekend that was expected to draw about 3,000 campers.

Another twister Tuesday afternoon hit a drive-thru wild animal park in southern Missouri. Webster County Emergency Management Director Tom Simmons said buildings were damaged at the Wild Animal Safari near Strafford, but there were no reports that people or animals were injured. All of the animals were accounted for.

Simmons said about a half-dozen homes were damaged in the county. A tractor-trailer was blown off a highway.

Heavy rain was called a contributing factor in the deaths of two people in a traffic accident Tuesday near Springfield, Missouri. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said an SUV skidded across the center of U.S. 160 and struck a tractor-trailer, killing both people in the SUV, Brandon Beasley, 23, and his 24-year-old wife, Christin, of Willard, Missouri.

Missouri authorities also reported several water rescues from flash flooding. Among them was an 18-year-old woman who was swept off a flooded road near Joplin Monday and stranded overnight until nearby residents heard her yelling. She had only minor injuries.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency, citing worsening flood concerns and soil inundation, as well as forecasts calling severe storms and possible tornadoes into Wednesday morning.

Flooding was also an issue in Oklahoma, where the Oklahoma Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 40 in El Reno, about 25 miles west of Oklahoma City, because of high water.