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Storms bring floods and tornadoes to Missouri, Kentucky

Storms bring floods and tornadoes to Missouri, Kentucky (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

(NBC NEWS) - Emergency teams were called to more than 40 high-water rescues early Friday after a severe storm lashed parts of the Plains and South with tornadoes, rain and flooding.

Kentucky was soaked by up to 5 inches of rain, leading to flash flood warnings in Louisville, where cars were inundated as roads turned into rivers.

The Louisville Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency said it had reports of 42 water rescues overnight. Roads were closed and apartment complexes evacuated.

At least one tornado was confirmed three miles southeast of Quapaw, Oklahoma, according to the National Weather Service, while The Weather Channel said others had touched down in Missouri, Kentucky and Kansas. There were no immediate reports of major damage.

Many Missouri residents spent the night in shelters as tornado warnings continued until as late as 4:30 a.m. ET.

"The main hazard from the flooding is to drivers, especially in the dark," Weather Channel meteorologist Michael Palmer said. "There is the potential for people to drive into flooded areas, getting stuck and then being swept away."

The severe weather threat — including the risk of more tornadoes — was set to continue Friday for the Ohio Valley down to the lower Mississippi Valley, Palmer said.

"There will be a lot of showers again through the Plains and the Midwest with more significant severe weather in the mid to later part of the afternoon," he said.

At a shelter in Missouri, people recalled the deadly 2011 Joplin tornado and were sleepy and nervous as alarms sounded through the night.

More severe weather is on the way next week, Palmer said, as a storm moves across the nation bringing rain to California and eventually more storms to the Plains and Midwest.