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Severe weather: More than 12 dead across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas

VALLEY VIEW, Texas (AP) — Powerful storms killed at least 15 people and left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after wiping out homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens of people sought shelter in toilets during the latest deadly weather conditions. hit the central United States

The storms inflicted their worst damage in a region stretching from northern Dallas to northwest Arkansas, and the system threatened to bring more severe weather to other parts of the Midwest later in during the day and on the East Coast on Monday.

Seven deaths were reported in Cooke County, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, where a tornado swept through a rural area near a mobile home park Saturday evening, officials said. The storms also killed two people and destroyed homes in Oklahoma, where the injured included guests at an outdoor wedding. Tens of thousands of residents were without electricity across the region.

“All that’s left is a trail of debris. The devastation is pretty bad,” Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington told the Associated Press.

Among the dead were two children, ages 2 and 5, the sheriff said. Texas County includes the small community of Valley View, which is among the hardest hit areas. Three family members were found dead in a home, Sappington said.

Hugo Parra, who lives in Farmers Branch, north of Dallas, said he rode out the storm with 40 to 50 people in the restroom at the truck stop near Valley View. The storm tore the roof and walls off the building, mutilating metal beams and leaving damaged cars in the parking lot.

“A firefighter came up to us and he said, ‘You’re very lucky,'” Parra said. “The best way to describe it is that the wind tried to blow us off the toilet.”

Several people were transported to hospitals by ambulance and helicopter in Denton County, Texas, also north of Dallas. But authorities did not immediately know the extent of the injuries.

At least five people were killed in Arkansas, including a 26-year-old woman who was found dead outside a destroyed home in Olvey, a small community in Boone County, according to Daniel Bolen of the county’s emergency management office. Another person died in Benton County and two more bodies were found in Marion County. In Oklahoma, two people died in Mayes County, east of Tulsa, officials said.

Elsewhere, a man was killed Sunday in Louisville, Kentucky, when a tree fell on him, police said. Louisville Mayor Craig Greenburg confirmed it was a storm-related death on social media.


The destruction continued during a dark month marked by deadly bad weather in the center of the country.

Damage is seen at a truck stop the morning after a tornado struck, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas.  Powerful storms left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after destroying homes and destroying a truck stop where drivers were sheltering during the latest deadly severe weather to hit the central United States (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Damage is seen at a truck stop the morning after a tornado struck, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortés)

Tornadoes in Iowa disappeared this week at least five dead and dozens of injured. The deadly tornadoes appeared during a historically bad season for tornadoes, at a time when climate change contributes to the severity of storms around the world. April had the second most tornadoes registered in the country.

Meteorologists and authorities had issued urgent warnings for them to take shelter as storms moved through the region Saturday evening and Sunday morning. “If you are in the path of this storm, hide now!” » the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Harold Brooks, a senior research scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, said a continued warm, humid climate is behind the string of tornadoes over the past two months.

Brooks recommended that travelers passing through threatened areas over Memorial Day weekend have a plan in case of a weather emergency.

Travelers who have already chosen where to get food and other essentials “should probably think about what I could do if there was a dangerous situation to save my life,” Brooks said.


Dawn began to reveal the full extent of the devastation.

Residents woke up Sunday to overturned cars and collapsed garages. Some residents could be seen pacing and assessing the damage. Nearby, neighbors sat on the foundation of a destroyed house.

In Valley View, near the truck stop, storms tore roofs off homes and blew out windows. Clothing, insulation, pieces of plastic and other debris were wrapped in miles of barbed wire surrounding pastures in the rural area.

Kevin Dorantes, 20, was in nearby Carrollton when he learned the tornado was hitting the Valley View neighborhood where he lived with his father and brother. He called them both and told them to hide in the windowless bathroom, where they weathered the storm and survived unscathed.

Some of his Dorantes’ neighbors were not so lucky.

As he walked through the area of ​​downed power lines and devastated homes, he came across a family whose home was reduced to a pile of splintered rubble. A father and son were trapped under the debris, and friends and neighbors rushed to get them out, Dorantes said.

“They were conscious but seriously injured,” Dorantes said. “The father’s leg was broken.”


Severe weather knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses because of the storms.

More than 100,000 customers in Arkansas were without power Sunday. In neighboring Missouri, more than 100,000 people were also without power along the state’s southern border. Texas reported 57,000 outages while 7,400 were reported in Oklahoma, according to the tracking website.

Inaccessible roads and downed power lines in Oklahoma also led authorities in the town of Claremore, near Tulsa, to announce on social media that the town was “on lockdown” due to the damage.


The system causing the latest severe weather was expected to move eastward through the remainder of the holiday weekend.

The start of the Indianapolis 500 was delayed due to a strong storm that hit the region, forcing officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to evacuate about 125,000 spectators. Video boards inside the expressway indicated a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect as the band of rain, accompanied by dangerous winds and lightning, approached from the west.

More severe storms were forecast in Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky.

The risk of severe weather shifts to North Carolina and Virginia on Monday, forecasters said.


Sophia Tareen, Associated Press reporter in Chicago; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Acacia Coronado in Austin, Texas; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; and Sara Cline in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, contributed to this report.

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