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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

At least thirteen deaths in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after severe weather in the region

By Vaseline May26,2024
At least thirteen deaths in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after severe weather in the region

VALLEY VIEW, Texas (AP) — Powerful storms killed at least 13 people and left a wide trail of destruction across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas Sunday after destroying homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens of people sought shelter in a restroom during the latest deadly weather. attack on central US

Seven deaths were reported in Cooke County, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, where a tornado ripped through a rural area near a mobile home park on Saturday evening, officials said. Storms also killed two people and destroyed homes in Oklahoma, including injuring guests at an outdoor wedding. Tens of thousands of residents were without power throughout the region.

‘There’s only a trail of rubble left. The destruction is quite severe,” Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington told The Associated Press.

The dead included two children, ages 2 and 5, the sheriff said. The Texas county includes the small community of Valley View, one of the hardest hit areas. Three family members were found dead in one home, Sappington said.

Hugo Parra, who lives in Farmers Branch, north of Dallas, said he spent the storm with 40 to 50 people in the bathroom of the truck stop at Valley View. The storm ripped the building’s roof and walls, mangled metal beams and left battered cars in the parking lot.

“A firefighter came to check on us and said, ‘You’re very lucky,’” Parra said. “The best way to describe this is the wind tried to rip us out of the bathrooms.”

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

At least four 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, Arkansas. Melody Kwok, the county’s communications director, said several other people were injured and emergency responders were still responding to calls.

“We are still conducting search and rescue efforts at this time,” she said. “This is a very active situation.”

Officials also confirmed two deaths in Mayes County, Oklahoma. Details about the deaths were not immediately available, said Mike Dunham, the county’s deputy director of emergency management.

A DEADLY SERIES OF STORMS

The devastation continued a grim month of deadly severe weather in the center of the country.

Tornadoes in Iowa this week have left at least five dead and dozens injured. The deadly tornadoes originated during a historically bad season for tornadoes, at a time when climate change is contributing to the severity of storms around the world. April had the second highest number of tornadoes registered in the country.

Meteorologists and authorities had issued urgent warnings to take cover as the storms moved through the region overnight. “If you are in the path of this storm, take cover now!” the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

HOUSES DESTROYED, ROADS BLOCKED

Dawn began to reveal the full extent of the devastation.

Residents woke up on 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, the storms tore the roofs off homes and blew out windows. Clothing, insulation, bits of plastic and other debris were wrapped around miles of barbed wire around rural pastures.

Widespread power outages

The severe weather knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the storms’ path.

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

Inaccessible roads and downed power lines in Oklahoma also prompted officials in the city of Claremore, near Tulsa, to announce on social media that the city was being “shut down” due to the damage.

MORE SEVERE WEATHER IN THE FORECAST

The system that caused the latest severe weather was expected to move eastward through the remainder of the Memorial Day weekend.

The start of the Indianapolis 500 was postponed as a strong storm moved into the area, forcing Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials to evacuate approximately 125,000 race fans. The video boards inside the highway showed a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect as the rainstorm, along with dangerous winds and lightning, approached from the west.

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

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

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

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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