Severe weather sweeps across the southern US

Severe storms bring dozens of tornadoes and widespread flooding across the south.

    A statue of explorers Lewis and Clark is surrounded by floodwater along the St. Louis riverfront. Several Mississippi River towns are seeing floods that are closing in on the historic levels reached in 1993 [Jim Salter/AP]
    A statue of explorers Lewis and Clark is surrounded by floodwater along the St. Louis riverfront. Several Mississippi River towns are seeing floods that are closing in on the historic levels reached in 1993 [Jim Salter/AP]

    Severe storms are ramping up across the southern US as May begins.

    On Monday, a weather pattern was set up that caused days of ongoing rain and severe weather.

    Monday night saw the worst of the threat, with tornadoes touching down from Texas to Illinois. By Tuesday morning, 44 tornadoes as well as widespread hail damage - with some hailstones as large as golf balls - had been reported.

    The severe storms continued across much of the Southern Plains and south east into the weekend as plenty of moisture was tapped from the Gulf of Mexico to fuel the storm, and daytime heat helped to make the atmosphere unstable.

    Days of storms also meant that the flood risk continued to rise into the weekend, particularly near low-lying river basins. As far north as Iowa, communities raced to put in place sand-bag barriers to help stop the rising waters from entering their homes and businesses.

    Already this week, 71 tornadoes have been reported due to the weather pattern.

    The weekend and next week are set to bring more of the same, along with rain over already-saturated soil. A slight break is expected for Monday, but strong spring storms are expected to erupt by Tuesday night.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies