Tornado outbreak results in 18 deaths in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky

At least 18 people were killed in a severe weather outbreak that affected Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky from late Saturday into Sunday, May 26, 2024. Severe weather is expected to continue into the new week with risks shifting east from Alabama to near New York City by Monday.

At least 18 people, including children, died as severe weather spawned multiple tornadoes across Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky from late Saturday into Sunday, May 26, 2024. The storms left more than 500 000 customers without power — more than 1.3 million people.

The worst damage over the weekend was reported in a region extending from north of Dallas to the northwest corner of Arkansas.

7 deaths were reported in Cooke County, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, where a tornado Saturday night plowed through a rural area near a mobile home park, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference Sunday. 

Approximately 100 people were injured across Texas, and over 200 homes and structures were destroyed. More than a third of all counties in Texas are now subject to a disaster declaration.

The small agricultural community of Valley View in Texas was among the hardest-hit areas, with officials estimating wind speeds reached 217 km/h (135 mph).

In Arkansas, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed 8 fatalities in a Sunday evening news conference. An emergency official noted that two of the deaths were indirectly caused by the storm—one from a heart attack and another due to loss of oxygen following a power outage.

The fatalities included a 26-year-old woman found outside a destroyed home in Olvey, Boone County. Additional deaths occurred in Benton and Marion counties.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early on Monday, May 27, citing multiple reports of wind damage and tornadoes. Police reported one fatality in Louisville, where a man was killed after a tree fell on him.

Two people were killed in Oklahoma. Major damage was reported in Claremore, where a tornado ripped through the middle of the town.

As of 06:00 UTC on Monday, May 27, a total of 491 829 customers were without power across Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas, and Virginia.

The affected included 201 499 in Kentucky, 81 857 in West Virginia, 80 093 in Missouri, 70 367 in Arkansas, and 58 013 in Virginia. This outage impacted approximately 1 278 800 people, with 523 900 in Kentucky, 212 800 in West Virginia, 208 200 in Missouri, 182 950 in Arkansas, and 150 800 in Virginia.

The NWS warned late Sunday that severe storms are expected to persist through the evening and overnight across the eastern Ozark Plateau into the Ohio and Tennessee Valley.

“On Sunday evening, a front extending from the Upper Great Lakes/Middle Mississippi Valley and southwestward to the Southern Plains will move to the Eastern Seaboard by Tuesday evening. The boundary will create an area of showers and severe thunderstorms over parts of eastern Missouri and the Ohio Valley,” NWS forecaster Ziegenfelder noted in a Short Range Discussion issued 19:44 UTC on May 27.

The boundary will produce showers and severe thunderstorms over parts of eastern Missouri and the Ohio Valley. The SPC has issued an Enhanced Risk (level 3/5) of severe thunderstorms for the Middle/Lower Mississippi Valley and Ohio/Tennessee Valleys through Monday morning. These thunderstorms will bring frequent lightning, severe wind gusts, hail, and a few tornadoes, with an added threat of EF-2 to EF-5 tornadoes and hail over 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter in the Lower Mississippi/Western Tennessee Valleys. Severe thunderstorm wind gusts over 120 km/h (65 knots) are expected in parts of the Eastern Ohio/Eastern Tennessee Valleys.

Heavy rain is forecasted for parts of far eastern Missouri, extreme southern Illinois, and the southern third of Kentucky, prompting a Moderate Risk (level 3/4) of excessive rainfall in the Tennessee Valley. This rain will cause flash flooding and may lead to flooding of larger rivers. A Slight Risk (level 2/4) of excessive rainfall is also issued for parts of Wisconsin.

On Monday, May 27, as the front moves from the Ohio Valley into the Mid-Atlantic, showers and severe thunderstorms will develop. A Slight Risk (level 2/5) of severe thunderstorms is expected from the Mid-Atlantic to the Southeast, with threats including frequent lightning, severe wind gusts, hail, and a few tornadoes.

The excessive rainfall threat will shift eastward to the northern Mid-Atlantic/Northeast from Monday through Tuesday morning, causing localized flash flooding. The Southern Plains will experience showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain by Tuesday, with a Slight Risk (level 2/4) of excessive rainfall and localized flash flooding.

Upper-level energy will move from the Northern High Plains to the Great Lakes, bringing showers and thunderstorms.

Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories are in place for southern Texas and the Central Gulf Coast through May 27 due to a subtropical high over Mexico, creating a dangerous early-season heat wave with high temperatures near record levels and heat index readings over 46 °C (115 °F).

The heat wave is expected to continue until a cold front passes after May 27.


1 Latest deadly weather in US kills at least 18 as storms carve path of ruin across multiple states – AP – May 27, 2024

2 Short Range Forecast Discussion – NWS/WPC – College Park MD 355 PM EDT Sun May 26 2024


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