Powerful storm front that killed 16 threatens eastern United States

(Reuters) - A powerful storm system bore down on the eastern United States on Monday after spawning tornadoes and torrential rains that killed at least 16 people and shut down hundreds of roads over the weekend, forecasters said.

The storm that tore through the central United States from Texas to Illinois could spawn damaging winds, hail and tornadoes as it heads into parts of the Middle Atlantic and Northeast, the National Weather Service said.

The front, described as a "powerhouse of an upper level system," could pack downpours of more than an inch an hour as it hammers Pennsylvania and New York state, the weather agency said.

13 PHOTOS
Deadly tornadoes and torrential rains -- April 2017
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Deadly tornadoes and torrential rains -- April 2017
The Rustic Barn, an event hall, which suffered major tornado damage, is seen from an unmanned aerial vehicle in Canton, Texas, April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
A home is severely damaged after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
A homeowner takes stock of the damage to his home after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
Homes are severely damaged after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
The Rustic Barn, an event hall, which suffered major tornado damage, is seen from an unmanned aerial vehicle in Canton, Texas, April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A patio chair is seen stuck in the trunk of a tree at The Rustic Barn, an event hall which suffered major tornado damage, in Canton, Texas, April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
Homeowners take stock of damage to their home after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
Members of the High Ridge fire department take a woman out of her trailer at the Village Green Estates trailer park on Monday, May 1, 2017, in Cedar Hill, Mo. Initially, the woman wanted to stay since she had had recent surgery, but then she decided she needed to be removed from the flood waters. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Homeowners clean up debris after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
Floodwater from the Meramec River covers some athletic fields at Eureka High School on Monday, May 1, 2017 in Eureka, Mo. During the January 2016 flood Meramec River floodwater encroached on the school's buildings and ruined the gym floor. School employees are sandbagging around the building to try and keep the water out this time. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Destiny Harris, 17, is helped out of a boat by Tyshon Sykes, 16, at the Village Green Estates trailer park on Monday, May 1, 2017, in Cedar Hill, Mo. Residents of the trailer park went back to rescue their dogs when the water started to drop. At left is Austin Young, 24; Zak Dodge, 24, and Chloe Noethen, 16. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Wes Sir, the ward 1 alderman in Eureka, stacks sandbags on South Central Avenue to protect businesses from the rising floodwater of the Meramec River on Monday, May 1, 2017 in Eureka, Mo. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
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Flooding that could be record breaking in eastern Oklahoma, northern Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois was expected to take several days to recede, it said.

High water in Missouri on Monday forced about 330 roads to close, including a stretch of Interstate 44 near Rolla, the state transportation department said on its website. More than 100 highways also were shut in neighboring Arkansas, state officials said.

In North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper urged residents to remain on their guard, especially in areas already hit by flooding. Almost 30 roads were closed from high water and washouts, his office said in a statement.

Tornadoes from the storm system killed four people on Saturday in Canton, Texas, about 60 miles (95 km) east of Dallas. The National Weather Service said Canton was hit by four tornadoes, with two packing winds of 136 miles to 165 miles per hour.

22 PHOTOS
Severe weather in the US 2017 -- tornadoes, snowstorms, flooding, hail
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Severe weather in the US 2017 -- tornadoes, snowstorms, flooding, hail
Abdel Salah, the owner of Sam's Food and Liquor Store surveys damage after a series of tornados tore through in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Depp
Heavy thunderstorm clouds fill the sky over Center City Philadelphia, PA, on Feb. 25, 2017. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Residents clear their cars and street of snow in Weehawken, New Jersey, as the One World Trade Center and lower Manhattan are seen after a snowstorm in New York, U.S. March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A utility pole was downed during last night's tornado on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Birds sit on some branches in Central Park in New York on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Eric BARADAT (Photo credit should read ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)
PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A house along Pcr 906 is destroyed after last night's tornado on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Heavy thunderstorm clouds fill the sky over Center City Philadelphia, PA, on Feb. 25, 2017. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A shed for farm equipment on Pcr 906 collapsed and metal sheeting was tangled in trees after last night's tornado, on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
PERRYVILLE, MO - MARCH 01: A house and garage were destroyed on Hwy V after last night's tornado on March 1, 2017 in Perryville, Missouri. At least one person was killed when the tornado crossed interstate 55. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
A resident clears the street of snow in Weehawken, New Jersey, as the Empire State Building and Middle Manhattan are seen after a snowstorm in New York, U.S. March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Debris covers a street in New Orleans East after a series of tornados tore through New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, leaving trees, power lines and homes and businesses leveled, in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Depp
Tien Nguyen cleans up debris in "Q" Nail studio on Chef Menteur highway which he and his wife own, they survived the tornado by sheltering in the bathroom, a tornados tore through New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, leaving trees, power lines and homes and businesses leveled, in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Depp
Two snowmen sit in Central Park in New York on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Trailers lie on their sides behind a Procter and Gamble warehouse after a tornado ripped through the area on Sunday in Albany, Georgia, U.S. January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell
A snowplow clears snow in Times Square during a snowstorm in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A gas sign from a gas station sits in a tree nearby after a tornado ripped through the area on Sunday in Albany, Georgia, U.S. January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell
Friends used there snow day to go sledding on a hill at 47th street northwest and Massachusetts Avenue in Washington on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Tasos Katopodis (Photo credit should read TASOS KATOPODIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A police car pushes a cab stuck on a snow and sleet-covered street in New York on March 14, 2017. Winter Storm Stella dumped sleet and snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday but spared New York from the worst after authorities cancelled thousands of flights and shut schools. Blizzard warnings were in effect in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York, but were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet, hail and rain. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The Rustic Barn, an event hall, which suffered major tornado damage, is seen from an unmanned aerial vehicle in Canton, Texas, April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Homeowners clean up debris after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
Homes are severely damaged after a tornado hit the town of Emory, Texas, U.S. April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
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Five people died in Arkansas, with two still missing, said state emergency management spokeswoman Melody Daniels. She could not confirm news reports that the missing were children who were in a car swept off a bridge.

In Mississippi, one man was killed when a tree fell on his home, and a 7-year-old boy was electrocuted when he unplugged an electric golf cart in standing water, said Greg Flynn, a spokesman for the state's emergency agency.

Two people were killed in Tennessee in storm-related incidents, authorities said. They included a Florence, Alabama, woman struck by a falling tree on Sunday, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

In Missouri, a 72-year-old Billings woman was swept away by high waters on Saturday, and two men ages 18 and 77 drowned in separate incidents on Sunday, emergency management spokesman Mike O'Connell said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Andrew Hay)

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