At least 18 people, including four children, are dead in four states after suspected tornadoes struck the central United States overnight on Sunday, May 26.

The storm also injured hundreds and left a wide trail of destruction across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens sought shelter in a restroom during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S.

The storms inflicted their worst damage in a region spanning from north of Dallas to the northwest corner of Arkansas, and it threatened to bring more violent weather to other parts of the Midwest.

By Monday, May 27, forecasters said, the greatest risk would shift to the east, covering a broad swath of the country from Alabama to near New York City.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early Monday in a post on social media platform X, citing “multiple reports of wind damage and tornadoes.”

Seven 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.

The dead included two children, ages 2 and 5. Three family members were found dead in one home, according to the county sheriff.

Storms also killed two people and destroyed houses in Oklahoma, where the injured included guests at an outdoor wedding, eight people in Arkansas and one person in Kentucky.

In Texas, about 100 people were injured and more than 200 homes and structures destroyed, Abbott said, sitting in front of a ravaged truck stop near the small agricultural community of Valley View.

The area was among the hardest-hit, with winds reaching an estimated 135 mph (217 kph), officials said

“The hopes and dreams of Texas families and small businesses have literally been crushed by storm after storm,” said Abbott, whose state has seen successive bouts of severe weather, including storms that killed eight people in Houston earlier this month.

Abbot signed an amended severe weather disaster declaration on Sunday to include Denton, Montague, Cooke and Collin on a list of counties already under a disaster declaration sparked by storms and flooding in late April.

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.

The storm destroyed the roof and walls of 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.”

Multiple people were transported to hospitals by ambulance and helicopter in Denton County, also north of Dallas.

Eight people died statewide in Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in a news conference Sunday evening. An emergency official said two of the deaths were attributed to the circumstances of the storm but not directly caused by weather, including a person who suffered a heart attack and another who was deprived of oxygen due to a loss of electricity.

The deaths included 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.

One person died in Benton County, and two more bodies were found in Marion County, officials said. In Oklahoma, two people died in Mayes County, east of Tulsa, officials said.

In Kentucky, a man was killed Sunday in Louisville when a tree fell on him, police said. Louisville Mayor Craig Greenburg confirmed on social media it was a storm-related death.

Meteorologists and authorities issued urgent warnings to seek cover as the storms marched across the region late Saturday and into Sunday.

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

Source: Blackgh.com

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