Storms leave at least 22 dead, thousands without power over Memorial Day weekend

Severe storms hit parts of the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend, leaving at least 22 people dead and injuring hundreds.

The storms hit worst in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky, before moving toward the East Coast on Monday evening.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced at a press conference Monday that five people in his state died, including a 54-year-old man who had a heart attack while cutting fallen trees. The governor had declared a state of emergency earlier Monday, citing reports of wind damage and tornadoes.

In Oklahoma, two people died in Mayes County, officials said.

Seven people died on Saturday in Cooke County, Texas, after a tornado swept through a rural area near a mobile home park, The Associated Press reported.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said there were two children, ages 2 and 5, among the dead. About 100 people were injured, and more than 200 homes and structures were destroyed. Wind gusts in the Valley View community reached an estimated 135 mph, according to officials.

“The hopes and dreams of Texas families and small businesses have literally been crushed by storm after storm,” Abbott said.

Abbott made a disaster declaration for 108 counties in Texas as of Sunday.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday evening that eight people died from the storms in Arkansas. Two deaths were attributed to circumstances of the storm but not directly from the weather, since one person suffered a heart attack and another lost oxygen after losing electricity.

Other deaths in Arkansas included a 26-year-old woman found inside a destroyed home in Boone County, officials said. One person died in Benton County and two more died in Marion County, per records.

As the storms approached the eastern U.S. late afternoon Monday, residents from North Carolina to Maryland were under tornado watches, while residents from Alabama to New York were on the highest alert for severe weather.

By Monday afternoon, more than 400,000 customers were left without power, mostly in the eastern part of the U.S. — including approximately 125,000 customers in Kentucky.

President Biden offered his condolences for the storm victims Sunday evening, saying he and the first lady were praying for those who lost their lives.

“This comes as communities across the Midwest and South are still reeling from deadly storms and severe weather,” Biden said in a statement, committing to send federal disaster relief to the area.

The Associated Press contributed.

Originally published at 9:04 a.m.

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