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At least 19 dead as tornadoes and storms batter central U.S.

At least 18 deaths have been reported after a series of severe storms and tornadoes struck the South and Great Plains over Memorial Day weekend, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power.

Eight storm-related deaths were reported in Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a news conference Sunday evening; seven storm-related deaths were reported in Cooke County, Texas; two in Mayes County, Oklahoma, and two in Kentucky: one in Louisville and another in Mercer County, where a tree fell on a house.

Among the deaths in Arkansas was a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who relied on an oxygen concentrator that stopped working during a power outage, Huckabee Sanders said. Other deaths included one person who died of a heart attack and another who perished when a downed tree or branch struck a trailer, she said.

Residents of Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee were hit by tornadoes, high winds and flooding amid terrible conditions that began Saturday and continued through Sunday. Tornado watches and warnings were issued in several states Sunday evening.

More than 334,000 customers were without power Sunday evening in Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kansas, according to

Concerns about severe weather also delayed the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by four hours. Spectators were asked to evacuate and take shelter; they were allowed to return after lightning cleared the area around 2 p.m. ET.

Later Sunday, NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 had to return drivers to the pit area after lightning in the area forced a weather delay in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In Arkansas, a 26-year-old woman was found dead outside a destroyed home in Olvey, a small community in Boone County, said Daniel Bolen of the county’s emergency management office.

The weather service confirmed a tornado in Boone County on Sunday.

One additional Arkansas death was reported in Benton County, another in Baxter County and two more in Marion County.

The eight deaths in Arkansas so far added three to the U.S. weekend storm total.

The deaths in Texas ranged in age from 2 to 72, Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters Sunday. They included two children ages 2 and 5 and three family members who were found together in a home near the small community of Valley View, Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington said.

Additionally, ambulances and helicopters transported several people from Denton County to hospitals for storm-related injuries, officials said. The exact extent of those injuries was not immediately clear.

Abbott described it as a “heartbreaking week” for Texans amid the loss of life and devastation in the region. More than 100 injuries were reported and about 200 structures were destroyed, he said.

About a third of the state’s counties were added to the governor’s disaster declaration following the recent storms, he said.

The National Weather Service has so far confirmed two EF-2 tornadoes in Texas – one that passed through Montague, Cooke and Denton counties and another in Collin County.

Storm damage at a shopping center in Rogers, Ark., Sunday.Charlie Kaijo/The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

One person died in Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Craig Greenberg said Sunday, as a result of “the severe weather that just passed through the area,” and structural damage was reported.

The man was believed to have been struck by a tree when he was found dead, NBC affiliate WAVE reported.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Sunday afternoon update on X that although conditions had calmed, another round of storms was expected later in the evening. He also noted that at least five counties had declared a state of emergency and that approximately 213,000 customers would be without power.

Beshear warned people to avoid flooded roads and reminded them to avoid downed power lines.

“We got through at least the first part of this event and we want to make sure we don’t lose anyone else,” he said. “So everyone stay safe, be very aware of the weather conditions as we move into this evening and late this evening.”

Details about the two deaths in Oklahoma were not immediately available.

Violent night storms

Severe storms swept through the region Saturday evening and overnight, overturning 18-wheelers, destroying homes, toppling power lines and crushing a Shell station in Cooke County, where dozens of people were trapped for some time. time Saturday evening, Sappington told NBC News.

No serious injuries or deaths were reported at the Valley View truck stop, and authorities said 125 people seeking shelter inside were evacuated Sunday.

Monica Vasquez, her husband and their five children, ages 3 to 18, had just entered their Valley View home after a graduation party when the storm came upon them.

“When we came home, we received an alert by phone. I told my husband, “Drive quickly, because it is written that it is here.” Then he started driving fast. We came home, took our babies out,” she said.

As soon as they arrived at the house, she felt pressure in her ears. They hid in their closet and waited, listening to the wind for what seemed like forever, and felt their house move.

“That’s when I thought my family and I were going to die,” an emotional Vasquez said.

When they came out, they saw by the light of their phone that their home of nine years had been destroyed. They plan to rebuild, which will be Vasquez’s second time starting over, after a fire destroyed his previous home.

The National Weather Service ordered people to take shelter after observing a “tornado circulation” at Ray Roberts Lake State Park, north of Dallas. The park said on its Facebook page Sunday that there was significant damage inside the park but no injuries were reported.

“The storm came at a terrible time, when the parks were filled with people celebrating Memorial Day weekend,” the Facebook post said.

Powerful storms destroyed homes and destroyed a truck stop in Valley View, Texas, where drivers took shelter when a tornado struck Saturday.Julio Cortés / AP

In Oklahoma, guests at an outdoor wedding were injured by storm damage.

Several tornadoes and hail 2 inches in diameter were reported in Tulsa, according to the weather service, and six people were injured and taken for treatment in Mayes County, said Michael Dunham, deputy county emergency management director. .

In Benton County, Arkansas, “several” people were injured as a result of the storms, and emergency response teams were on search and rescue missions throughout the night, Sheriff Shawn Holloway said . And in Baxter County, “nearly two dozen” people were taken to the hospital with injuries, including six children.

“We are still in the search and rescue phase,” said Melody Kwok, Baxter County communications director. “It’s a very active situation.”

The final day of Bentonville’s annual Bike Fest, which draws about 15,000 people to the “mountain biking capital of the world,” was canceled Sunday due to inclement weather.

“It is important that all of our participants, partners and employees stay safe and continue to shelter in place as directed, and continue to monitor local weather and public safety guidelines,” the event website states.

Will Worthey, left, and Lindsey Worthey of Rogers, Ark., help clear debris from a downed tree Sunday.Charlie Kaijo/The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

Huckabee Sanders, the governor, signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency Sunday afternoon, providing $250,000 from the governor’s disaster relief fund for the Division of Emergency Management.

Weather threat persists

Severe weather was moving north and east Sunday evening, affecting the Midwest and Ohio Valley, including Chicago; Indianapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; Saint Louis; and Cincinnati. The storms are expected to affect 42 million people in the region.

Organizers and authorities evacuated the Sueños music festival, held in Chicago’s Grant Park, as severe weather approached Sunday afternoon. This followed a weather-related delay Sunday in the opening of the annual festival, focused on Latin hip-hop and reggaeton, according to NBC Chicago.

Tornado warnings were issued for several counties in Indiana and Kentucky. But more urgent “emergency” declarations have been issued in Kentucky for the Dawson Springs, Mortons Gap and Crider areas.

The Louisville Metro Emergency Operations Center said it activated its level one designation to monitor the weather Sunday evening.

Flash flooding poses a risk as storms spread across the country, particularly in the central Mississippi Valley, where 3 million people are under flood warnings, including Memphis, Tenn., and Tupelo, in Mississippi.

Storms will continue to move eastward and end Monday on the East Coast, where a slight severe weather risk warning has been issued for the mid-Atlantic, including Baltimore; Washington DC; and Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina. In this region, 27 million people are at risk of strong to severe thunderstorms.

High winds will be the main danger to watch out for, but storms could produce large hail or tornadoes.

For the weekend, precipitation totals are expected to be 1 to 2.5 inches, with more than 3 inches possible in some areas.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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