Severe Memorial Day storms leave at least 20 dead across U.S. mid-South

Amid early suggestions that another difficult summer lies ahead for North America, a series of devastating storms as well as a severe heat wave have hit several states in the central and southern U.S., leaving at least 20 people dead.

Most of the deaths have resulted from tornadoes in Texas — where seven people were killed in a trailer park in Cooke County, according to the AP — and Arkansas, where eight people died in different parts of the state. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency, announcing in a post on X that three people had died in that state amid “multiple reports of wind damage and tornadoes.” Two people have also been killed near Tulsa, Oklahoma, reportedly after a storm devastated the site of an outdoor wedding.

The AP reports that more than 600,000 people across 12 Eastern and Southern states are without power as of Monday morning. 

Just south of the storm systems, a near-record heat wave is bringing midsummer temperatures to late spring in parts of South Texas and South Florida. Miami hit a record high temperature for the date of 96℉ on Sunday, and the heat index near the Texas-Mexico border is expected to near 120℉ on Monday.

The spring of 2024 has already been “a historically bad season for tornadoes, at a time when climate change contributes to the severity of storms around the world,” reports the AP. Weather authorities reported 300 tornadoes in April, the second-highest number ever recorded for that month.

The storm system that hit the mid-South is now moving east, with states from New York to Alabama likely to encounter severe weather on Memorial Day. 


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