Severe Memorial Day weather: Powerful US storms head east after killing 20

A series of powerful storms lashed the central and southern US over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, killing at least 21 people and leaving a wide trail of destroyed homes, businesses and power outages.

The Destruction storms It caused deaths in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kentucky, and a suppressive, early-season heat wave north of records from southern Texas to Florida.

Forecasters said severe weather could move up the East Coast late Monday, and millions of people were warned to stay outdoors for the sky-watching holiday.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who had earlier declared a state of emergency, said at a press conference Monday that four people had died in four different counties.

The 21 death toll includes seven fatalities Cook County, Texas, Saturday’s tornado tore through a mobile home park, officials said, and eight people died across Arkansas.

Two people died in Mays County, Oklahoma, east of Tulsa, authorities said. Among the injured were guests at an outdoor wedding.

The small Kentucky community of Charleston was the latest community left with broken homes to be hit head-on Sunday night by a tornado that the governor said was 40 miles (64 kilometers) from land.

“It’s a big mess,” said Rob Linden, who lives in Charleston and is the fire chief of nearby Dawson Springs, which was hit by a tornado in 2021. “Trees are down everywhere. Houses are displaced. Power lines are down. There are no utilities – no water, no electricity.

Further east, some rural areas of Hopkins County hit by the 2021 tornado around the community of Barnsley were damaged again Sunday night, county emergency management director Nick Bailey said.

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“A lot of people were putting their lives back together and then this,” Bailey said. “Almost the same location, same houses and everything.”

Beshear has traveled to the region His father grew up Many times for ceremonies where people who lost everything were given the keys to their new homes.

The visits came after a terrible night of tornadoes in December 2021 81 people were killed In Kentucky.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Beshear said of the Memorial Day weekend storms. “Kentucky people are very weather-savvy about everything we’ve been through.”

There were more than 500,000 customers throughout the eastern United States Without power Monday afternoon, including about 170,000 people in Kentucky. Twelve states recorded at least 10,000 outages

The area under high alert for severe weather on Monday is a wide swath of the eastern United States from Alabama to New York.

President Joe Biden sent his condolences to the families of the victims. He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is conducting damage assessments and has contacted governors to see what federal support they need.

It is a severe month of cyclones and severe weather in the central part of the country.

A tornado hit Iowa last week At least five people died And dozens were injured. Storms Eight people were killed in Houston Earlier this month. Severe thunderstorms and deadly twisters spawn a historically poor hurricane season, during which Climate change Contributes to the intensity of storms around the world. It was April The second highest number of hurricanes reported in the country.

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Harold Brooks, a senior scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, attributed the string of hurricanes over the past two months to a persistent pattern of warm, moist air.

That warm, moist air is at the northern edge of the heat dome, bringing temperatures typically seen in late May at the height of summer.

The heat index — a combination of air temperature and humidity that indicates how hot it feels to the human body — is expected to reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) in parts of South Texas on Monday. Record highs are predicted for Brownsville, San Antonio and Dallas.

Miami set a record high of 96 F (35.5 C) on Sunday.

For more information on the latest tornado reports, see The Associated Press Tornado Tracker.


Schreiner reported from Louisville, Kentucky. Associated Press reporters Acacia Coronado in Austin, Texas and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina contributed to this report.

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