US: At least 15 dead after severe weather carves path of ruin across multiple states in the South

27 May,2024 01:51 PM IST |  Valley View (Texas)  |  mid-day online correspondent

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

Damage is seen at a truck stop the morning after a tornado rolled through in Valley View, Texas. Powerful storms left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where drivers took shelter during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S. Pic/AP, PTI

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Intense storms that devastated homes and a truck stop where many people took refuge in the lavatory during the most recent catastrophic weather to hit the central US left at least fifteen dead and a vast path of ruin throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas on Sunday. The area from north of Dallas to the northwest corner of Arkansas saw the most damage from the storms, and later in the day, the system threatened to deliver more severe weather to other regions of the Midwest. Forecasters predicted that by Monday, the greatest risk would move eastward, affecting a large region of the nation that stretched from Alabama to the area of New York City.

Authorities in Cooke County, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, confirmed seven deaths after a tornado on Saturday night tore through a rural region close to a mobile home park. In Oklahoma, storms also caused house destruction and two fatalities; among the injured were guests at an outdoor wedding. Throughout the region, tens of thousands of people were without power. "It's just a trail of debris left. The devastation is pretty 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, which was among 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 rode out the storm with 40 to 50 people in the bathroom of the truck stop near Valley View. The storm sheared the roof and walls off the building, mangling metal beams and leaving battered cars in the parking lot. "A firefighter came to check on us and he 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 individuals were flown to medical facilities via helicopter and ambulance in Denton County, Texas, which is situated north of Dallas. The complete extent of the injuries, however, was not immediately known by the authorities. According to Daniel Bolen of the county emergency management office, at least five individuals were murdered in Arkansas, including a 26-year-old woman who was discovered dead outside a demolished home in Olvey, a small village in Boone County. Two more bodies were discovered in Marion County, while one more person passed away in Benton County. Authorities in Mayes County, Oklahoma, east of Tulsa, reported the deaths of two people. near another incident, authorities reported a man was killed on Sunday near Louisville, Kentucky when a tree fell on him. Louisville Mayor Craig Greenburg confirmed it was a storm-related death on social media. The devastation came as part of a gloomy month of fatal extreme weather in the middle of the country. This week, tornadoes in Iowa caused numerous injuries and at least five fatalities. The fatal twisters have emerged during a season that has historically been poor for tornadoes, and at a time when storm severity globally is increasing due to climate change. The second-highest number of tornadoes on record for the nation occurred in April. As the storms moved across the area late Saturday and early Sunday, meteorologists and officials had issued urgent warnings to take shelter. "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.

The increase in the number of tornadoes over the previous two months, according to Harold Brooks, senior research scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, is the result of a prolonged meteorological pattern of warm, wet air. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Brooks advised tourists heading through vulnerable locations to prepare for inclement weather. Travellers who have already chosen where to get food and other essentials "probably ought to be thinking about what could I do if there's a dangerous situation to save my life," Brooks said. Over the remainder of the long weekend, it was anticipated that the system generating the most recent severe weather would continue east. After a powerful storm moved into the area, causing officials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to evacuate over 125,000 racegoers, the Indianapolis 500 got underway four hours later than scheduled. Before the pre-race festivities, a band of thunderstorms rushed through, putting a year's work of planning in peril due to the weather. It was projected that storms would get stronger in Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky. On Monday, experts say, there is a chance of severe storms moving into Virginia and North Carolina.

(With Inputs from AP)

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