Deadly storms in central US leave destructive trail

World Monday 27/May/2024 14:35 PM
By: DW
Deadly storms in central US leave destructive trail

Texas: Powerful storms in the central United States have killed at least 15 people and caused widespread damage to communities in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Weather forecasters warned of more severe weather and the National Weather Service has issued dozens of tornado warnings for cities and towns in the region.

In Texas, Ray Sappington, the sheriff of Cooke County, said that at least seven people were killed when a powerful tornado hit communities in the north central part of the state, near the border with Oklahoma on Saturday.

Two children, aged 2 and 5 years old, were among the dead, Sappington told the Reuters news agency.

On Sunday, officials were getting to grips with the scale of the disaster and conducting search and rescue operations.

Sappington said that a number of trailer homes in the hardest-hit areas were "completely gone" while others had been badly damaged.

Multiple people had to be taken to hospitals by ambulance and helicopter in Denton County, Texas, north of Dallas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday said that around 100 people had been injured and more than 200 homes and structures destroyed.

"The hopes and dreams of Texas families and small businesses have literally been crushed by storm after storm," said Abbott, whose state has experienced successive bouts of severe weather.

Abbott signed a decree for four counties, freeing up funds and staff to help people whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

Fatalities in Arkansas and Oklahoma
In Arkansas, authorities said at least five people were killed, roads were blocked with debris and power lines and trees were downed, while homes and businesses were destroyed.

Fatalities were also reported in Oklahoma and local officials activated an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate response efforts in the state.

The latest extreme weather comes just days after a powerful tornado tore through a rural Iowa town, leaving four people dead.

Meteorologists and local authorities have been issuing urgent warnings for people in affected areas to get to shelter as soon as possible.

"If you are in the path of this storm take cover now!" the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, posted on X, formerly Twitter.