Memorial Day Storms Leave Path of Destruction Across Multiple States, Killing at Least 21

At least 21 people have died, and more than half a million homes and businesses are without power after a series of powerful storms devastated several U.S. states over the Memorial Day weekend. The storms, which brought tornadoes, heavy rain and strong winds, carved a path of ruin across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky.

In Kentucky, where Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) declared a state of emergency in five counties, the tiny community of Charleston took a direct hit from a tornado that appeared to be on the ground for 40 miles. “Almost the same spot, the same houses and everything,” said Nick Bailey, the Emergency Management Director of Hopkins County, referring to areas hit by a tornado in 2021.

Texas saw seven deaths in Cooke County from a Saturday tornado that tore through a mobile home park, while Arkansas reported eight fatalities. Two people died in Oklahoma, including guests at an outdoor wedding in Mayes County.

The severe weather is expected to shift to the East Coast later Monday, with forecasters warning millions of people outdoors for the holiday to watch the skies. The area on highest alert extends from Alabama to New York.

President Joe Biden sent condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is conducting damage assessments and coordinating with governors to provide necessary support.

The deadly storms come as an oppressive heat wave sets records across southern Texas and Florida, with temperatures expected to reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.