Over 350,000 without power in Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky as storms batter central U.S.

May 26, 2024
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More than 350,000 people in Missouri, Arkansas and Kentucky have no power after severe storms and tornadoes swept through the region Saturday and continued into Sunday.

Additionally, more than 56,000 people are without power in Texas as well as more than 35,000 in Tennessee, while nearly 18,000 customers have outages in Kansas, according to poweroutage.us.

Concerns about severe weather also forced a delay for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500, set to take place Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

At least 11 storm-related deaths were reported as of Sunday morning, with seven deaths out of Cooke County, Texas; two deaths in Mayes County, Oklahoma; and two deaths in different counties in Arkansas.

The dead in Texas 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, multiple people in Denton County, Texas, were transported to hospitals by ambulance and helicopter for storm-related injuries, officials said, but the full extent of those injuries was not immediately clear.

Of the two deaths in Arkansas, one was a 26-year-old woman who was found dead outside of a destroyed home in Olvey, a small community in Boone County, said Daniel Bolen of the county’s Office of Emergency Management.

The other death in Arkansas was reported in Benton County.

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

Violent storms overtook the region Saturday evening and overnight, overturning 18-wheelers, destroying homes, toppling power lines and crushing a Shell station in Cooke County where dozens were trapped for a period of time Saturday night, Sappington told NBC News. No serious injuries or fatalities were reported at the truck stop, and those taking shelter appeared to have been evacuated by Sunday morning.

One of the Saturday-night tornadoes barreled through a rural area near a mobile home park in Texas, officials said. And in Oklahoma, guests at an outdoor wedding were injured from storm damage.

“It’s just a trail of debris left. The devastation is pretty severe,” Sappington told The Associated Press.

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

And in Benton County, Arkansas, “multiple” people were injured as a result of the storms, and emergency response teams were on search and rescue throughout the night, Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway said.

“We are still on search and rescue right now,” Melody Kwok, a county communications director, said. “This is a very active situation.”

The severe weather will push east on Sunday into the Midwest and Ohio Valley, including Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, St. Louis and Cincinnati. Storms are expected to affect 42 million people in the region.

A tornado watch is in effect in the mid-Mississippi Valley, including Kentucky and Tennessee, through the afternoon. Damaging wind gusts are considered the most likely hazard in the majority of the region, but tornadoes and large hail are also possible as the storms move east.

Flash flooding is a risk as the storms creep across the country, especially in the mid-Mississippi Valley, where 3 million are under flood alerts, including in Memphis, Tennessee, and Tupelo, Mississippi.

Officials at the Indianapolis 500 advised spectators to take cover Sunday as lightning strikes were reported in the area.

“Given the proximity of lightning moving toward the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a decision has been made to pause the pre-race ceremonies and move fans out of the grandstands and Snake Pit,” the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said in a post on X.

The storms will continue to move east and finish off Monday on the East Coast, where a slight risk of severe weather was issued to the mid-Atlantic, including Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina. In this region, 27 million are at risk of experiencing strong to severe thunderstorms.

Severe wind will be the main hazard to watch out for, but storms could have the capability of producing large hail or a tornado.

Throughout the weekend, rainfall totals are expected to range from 1-2.5 inches, with 3-plus inches possible in areas where training storms develop.



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