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New York City under flood watch, states brace for tornadoes as Memorial Day storms hit East Coast

As storms pelt the East Coast, communities in the central US are mourning the 21 lives lost to severe weather this weekend

Katie Hawkinson,Ariana Baio
Tuesday 28 May 2024 09:19
Multi-vortex tornado near Creta, Oklahoma during Memorial Day Weekend

At least 21 people have died, including two children, in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky after violent storms ripped through the central US over Memorial Day weekend.

At least 11 tornadoes swept through affected states on Sunday, with severe weather forecast to continue throughout Memorial Day. On Monday, a staggering 120m Americans were at risk of large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes as storm systems moved towards the Gulf Coast and East Coast, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.

The storms could bring gusts up to 70 miles per hour and quarter-sized hail.

Meanwhile, record-high temperatures are feared in other parts of the country, with excessive heat warnings and heat advisories over southern Texas on Monday.

The death toll climbed to 21 people on Monday.

At least eight people have so far died as a result of the extreme storms in Arkansas, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a news conference on Sunday evening.

Four people died in Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear confirmed on Monday morning. The victims included a 67-year-old woman in Mercer County, a 62-year-old woman in Hardin County, a 48-year-old woman in Hopkins County and a 34-year-old man in Jefferson County, the governor said.

A fifth person was injured and is fighting for their life as of Monday afternoon, Mr Beshear said.

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, at least two people were killed in Mayes County after a tornado ripped through the northeast part of the state.

In Texas, multiple tornados were reported throughout the state with one plowing through Cooke County on Saturday night – approximately 50 miles north of Dallas – leaving seven people dead.

The sheriff confirmed that a two-year-old and a five-year-old were among the dead. The victims also included three other family members who were found in a home near Valley View – a rural community close to the Oklahoma border.


Southern Texas to face dangerous heat this Memorial Day Weekend

Corpus Christi and much of southern Texas will face excessive heat this weekend.

The heat index — that is, what the temperature feels like to people — could reach up to 118F.

“Take extra precautions when outside,” the National Weather Service advises. “Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing. Try to limit strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Take action when you see symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 15:20

Chicago to see storms, ‘damaging hail’ until this evening

Thunderstorms bringing damaging hail and possible tornadoes will hit the Chicago region until this evening, the National Weather Service forecasts.

These storms could impact the fourth-busiest airport in the nation, Chicago O’Hare International.

However, the travel hub is going strong so far this morning with just one cancelation and 46 delays, according to FlightAware.

An infographic from the National Weather Service warning Chicago-area residents of severe weather on Friday
An infographic from the National Weather Service warning Chicago-area residents of severe weather on Friday (National Weather Service)
Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 15:40

ICYMI: Ocean heat and La Nina combo likely mean more Atlantic hurricanes this summer

Get ready for one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, thanks to unprecedented ocean heat and a brewing La Nina, experts say.

With hurricane-like winds already brewing in the Midwest this holiday weekend, here’s what you need to know about the upcoming hurricane season:

Experts warn of record Atlantic hurricanes this summer – and they could come early

90% of hurricane deaths are in water and they are preventable, experts said

Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 16:00

Where did Memorial Day start and why do Americans celebrate it?

Memorial Day, which also marks the unofficial start to summer, is observed annually on the last Monday of May, with most Americans receiving the day off from work.

The nation commemorates the holiday with a service at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, with the president typically laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Read more about the holiday from The Independent’s Chelsea Ritschel:

Where did Memorial Day start and why do Americans celebrate it?

On Monday 29 May, Americans honour those who have died while serving in the nation's military 

Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 16:20

Extreme fire danger expected in several states this weekend

Areas of several states, including Texas, New Mexico and Arizona are under red flag warnings for extreme fire danger this weekend.

These conditions are exacerbated by high winds, low humidity and ongoing drought conditions in the southwestern US, according to the National Weather Service.

On Thursday, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a warning to celebrate Memorial Day responsibly — and a reminder that fireworks are banned on BLM-managed public lands.

Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 16:40

Egg-sized hail threatens Oklahoma, Texas

The storms expected to hit Oklahoma and Texas today will bring two-inch hail — the size of a hen’s egg — to the region, the National Weather Service said.

Egg-sized hail can easily damage cars and homes.

The region will also see wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour.

Meanwhile, hurricane-force winds and tornadoes could hit the central US this afternoon.

These weather hazards come on the second day of Memorial Day Weekend travel and could create delays at airports across the country.

Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 17:01

Chicago airport delays on the rise today

Chicago O’Hare International Airport has seen nearly 100 delays so far on Friday, according to FlightAware.

This uptick comes as severe thunderstorms hit much of Iowa and Illinois, bringing wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour, hail and tornadoes

O’Hare is the fourth busiest airport in the US, meaning today’s storms could continue to impact Memorial Day travel throughout the country.

Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 17:20

WATCH: US storm system to bring tornadoes, hail to Oklahoma as Memorial Day weekend kicks off

US Storm System Brings Tornadoes, Hail To Oklahoma
Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 18:00

Nearly 200 flights delayed in Chicago

Almost 200 flights into, out of or within the US at Chicago O’Hare International Airport have been delayed today, according to FlightAware.

Much of Illinois and Iowa are under severe thunderstorm and flood watches this afternoon.

Meanwhile, some 50,000 people will be passing through airports today as Memorial Day weekend begins, according to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 18:30

WATCH: Memorial Day weekend forecast for central US

Severe storms in the central US to last through the holiday weekend
Katie Hawkinson24 May 2024 19:00

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