Y CITY, Ark. (AP) -- Flash flooding and tornadoes killed three people in Arkansas overnight in the nation's latest severe weather outbreak. Among the dead was a county sheriff who drowned while checking on residents whose house was eventually swamped by rising water.
More bad weather was poised to strike the nation's midsection Friday, with tornadoes and baseball-sized hail forecast from Oklahoma to Missouri.
But Thursday night and early Friday the danger was from torrential rain — 6 inches or more in the rugged terrain of western Arkansas. The Fourche La Fave River rose 24 feet in 24 hours and for a time closed U.S. 71 north of Y City.
"The water just comes off that hill like someone is pouring a bucket in there," said Danny Straessle, a spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. "This was an incredible amount of water."
Sheriff Cody Carpenter and wildlife officer Joel Campora traveled by boat up Mill Creek to reach two people who had called for assistance. While they were in the home, the river swamped it.
"Other deputies heard a loud crash," Hollenbeck said. "They thought that the bridge had actually collapsed. Looking into it further, the house had imploded as a directly result of rising waters from Mill Creek," said Bill Hollenbeck, the sheriff of neighboring Sebastian County.
Campora and the two women inside the home remained missing Friday afternoon, Hollenbeck said. Carpenter's body was recovered about 1 mile downstream from the home.
Separately, authorities discovered a woman dead in a car in Scott County. That death is also being attributed to the flooding. And a man died after strong winds toppled a tree onto his car in Voll, just west of Little Rock.
The agency's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said large hail and tornadoes are likely Friday in Oklahoma and parts of the Ozarks in Arkansas and Missouri. The areas at greatest risk include Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Joplin, Mo., where the second-deadliest American tornado on record killed at least 158 people in 2011.
Flooding is also a concern in parts of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois through Sunday.