Severe Storms Leave 19 Dead in South and Plains Over Memorial Day Weekend

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Devastation struck the South and Great Plains as severe storms and tornadoes wreaked havoc over the Memorial Day weekend, resulting in at least 19 reported deaths. The storms left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power in their wake.

In Arkansas, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed eight storm-related deaths, including a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who relied on an oxygen concentrator that failed when the power went out. Other fatalities involved a heart attack victim and someone struck by a downed tree or branch at a trailer park.

Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee bore the brunt of twisters, heavy winds, and flooding, starting on Saturday and extending into Sunday. Tornado watches and warnings were issued across several states as the severe weather unfolded.

More than 334,000 customers were left without power in Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kansas by Sunday evening. The Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 races were also impacted by the inclement weather, experiencing delays due to concerns for spectators’ safety.

In Boone County, Arkansas, a 26-year-old woman was found dead outside her destroyed home, where a tornado had been confirmed. Additional storm-related deaths were reported in Benton, Baxter, and Marion counties, contributing to the rising death toll from the weekend storms.

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas revealed that the state saw deaths ranging from ages 2 to 72, including two children found with three family members in a home in Cooke County. The aftermath also saw over 100 reported injuries and an estimated 200 structures destroyed.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear warned of another wave of storms approaching and declared states of emergency in multiple counties. Residents were urged to stay safe, avoid flooded roads, and steer clear of downed power lines to prevent further casualties.

As the severe weather extended into the Midwest and Ohio Valley, major cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, and Cincinnati braced for impact. Storms were projected to affect millions of people in the region, prompting organizers to evacuate events like the Sueños Music Festival in Chicago.

As the storms continued to move eastward, with flash flooding posing serious risks, millions of people along the East Coast were under a slight risk alert for severe weather. Severe wind, large hail, and the possibility of tornadoes remained top concerns, with rainfall totals anticipated to hit 1-2.5 inches over the weekend.