Selangor Journal
Wreckage is strewn across a property the day after a deadly series of tornados hit the central United States, in Valley View, Texas, US, on May 26, 2024. — Picture by REUTERS

US storms kill at least 21 across 4 states on Memorial Day weekend

HOUSTON, May 28 — Tornado-spawning thunderstorms that swept the Southern Plains and the Ozark Mountains have killed at least 21 people across four US states as of yesterday afternoon and wrecked hundreds of buildings, as forecasters warned of more severe weather.

The death toll over the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend included at least eight fatalities in Arkansas, seven in Texas, four in Kentucky and two in Oklahoma, according to tallies by state emergency authorities.

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for parts of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania until Monday evening, the National Weather Service said. The watch was in effect for more than 30 million people in the Northeast, as the storms were expected to move to that part of the East Coast.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early on Monday. The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Atlanta area and other parts of Georgia and for several western South Carolina counties.

“It was a tough night for our people,” Beshear posted on social media platform X on Monday. He later said in a press briefing that devastating storms had hit almost the entire state. The storms damaged 100 state highways and roads, officials said.

At least seven people perished — including a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old from a family — and nearly 100 were injured on Saturday night when a powerful tornado struck communities in North Texas near the Oklahoma border, Governor Greg Abbott told a Sunday news conference.

Late on Sunday, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at least eight people died in her state after the storms. An Arkansan suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease died due to a lack of oxygen when the power went out.

President Joe Biden offered condolences for the lives lost when he spoke yesterday with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Governors Abbott and Sanders, the White House said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was on the ground conducting damage assessments with state and local counterparts, the White House said, adding that Biden had directed federal agencies to provide support as needed.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were without power on Monday due to the weather. In Kentucky alone, more than 160,000 customers lacked electricity.

— Reuters

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