Memorial Day Tornadoes: 22 Dead Across Five States, Millions Brace for More

May 29, 2024
2 mins read
Impact of tornado on a house in Texas. Photo Credit: Gov. Greg Abbott (X formerly Twitter)
Impact of tornado on a house in Texas. Photo Credit: Gov. Greg Abbott (X formerly Twitter)

A series of powerful storms swept across the central and southern United States over the Memorial Day weekend, resulting in the deaths of at least 22 people and leaving a wide path of destruction. The storms caused fatalities in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kentucky, occurring just north of an early heatwave setting new temperature records from southern Texas to Florida.

Meteorologists noted that the severe weather could move towards the East Coast, advising millions who are outdoors during the holiday to watch for sky conditions. A tornado warning was issued from North Carolina to Maryland.

The Director of Emergency Management, Nick Bailey, said that many people were just getting their lives back together when the disaster struck again, affecting almost the same place, the same houses, and everything.

The Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, who had declared a state of emergency hours earlier, said in a Monday press conference that five people had died in the state. The fifth death was a 54-year-old man who suffered a heart attack while cutting down fallen trees in Caldwell County, western Kentucky, the governor’s office indicated.

Seven of the 22 deaths occurred in Cooke County, Texas, due to a tornado on Saturday that devastated a trailer park, officials reported. In Arkansas, eight fatalities were recorded. Two people died in Mayes County, Oklahoma, east of Tulsa, authorities reported. Among the injured were guests at an outdoor wedding.

The latest community to suffer damage to homes and power outages was the small town of Charleston, Kentucky, which was directly hit by a tornado on Sunday night, which, according to the governor, apparently touched down over a 40-mile (64 kilometers) path. The holiday weekend was marked by destructive tornadoes. Sunday was the most severe weather day of the year. Authorities recorded more than 600 reports of strong winds or hail in more than 20 states, the network specified, as well as winds over 75 mph. In the case of tornadoes, 26 were reported in 10 states that left some residences and businesses in rubble.

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Today, the greatest threat is centered in areas of central and northern Texas including Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth. Forecasts indicate that hail, lightning, and wind gusts of up to 80 mph will be felt in these areas. The National Weather Service (NWS) also does not rule out the presence of tornadoes. In addition, residents of the “Lone Star State” will have to contend with a heatwave that has been affecting areas of the south in recent days. The Storm Prediction Center also anticipates a minor risk of severe storms along strips of the Southern Plains and a small portion of the southeast that includes parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and western New Mexico.

For this Tuesday, about 47 million people are under the risk of severe weather due to the powerful storms that continue to affect the central, southern, and eastern U.S. Some 16 million people were on alert Sunday in the northeastern United States for tornadoes, while a total of 110 million were at risk across the country due to severe weather conditions. Additionally, by last night, more than 200,000 homes and businesses in seven states were without electricity. The majority of the outages occurred in Kentucky. However, residents in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, and Virginia also experienced service outages.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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