Storms leave widespread outages across Texas, cleanup continues after deadly weekend across US

Strong storms with damaging winds and baseball-sized hail pummeled Texas on Tuesday, leaving more than 1 million businesses and homes without power as much of the U.S. recovered from severe weather, including tornadoes, that killed at least 25 people during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Widespread outages were reported in north Texas, which includes Dallas and Fort Worth, where an oppressive, early-season heat wave added to the misery. More than 300,000 customers in Dallas County alone lacked electricity Tuesday as the outages extended into rural east Texas, according to PowerOutage.us.

Voters in the state’s runoff elections found some polling places without power. Roughly 100 voting sites in Dallas County were knocked offline. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared a disaster area and noted that some nursing homes were using generators. “This ultimately will be a multi-day power outage situation,” Jenkins said Tuesday.

More rough weather and heavy rains were forecast for the Dallas area Tuesday night. Heavy thunderstorms also were plowing toward Houston, where officials warned that winds as strong as 70 mph could cause damage less than two weeks after hurricane-force winds knocked out power to more than 800,000 homes and businesses.

Destructive storms over the weekend caused deaths in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia. Meanwhile in the Midwest, an unusual weather phenomenon called a “gustnado” that looks like a small tornado brought some dramatic moments to a western Michigan lake over the weekend.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell will travel to Arkansas on Wednesday as the Biden administration continues assessing the damage from the weekend tornadoes.

Seven people were killed in Cooke County, Texas, from a tornado that tore through a mobile home park Saturday, officials said, and eight deaths were reported across Arkansas.

Two people died in Mayes County, Oklahoma, east of Tulsa, authorities said. The injured included guests at an outdoor wedding. A Missouri man died Sunday after a tree limb fell onto his tent as he was camping.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said five people had died in his state during storms that struck close to where a devastating swarm of twisters killed 81 people in December 2021. One family lost their home

for a second time on the same lot where a twister leveled their house less than three years ago.

Roughly 150,000 homes and businesses lacked electricity midday Tuesday in Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia and Missouri.

It has been a grim month of tornadoes and severe weather in the nation’s midsection.

Tornadoes in Iowa last week left at least five people dead and dozens injured. Storms killed eight people in Houston this month. April had the second-highest number of tornadoes on record in the country. The storms come as climate change contributes in general to the severity of storms around the world.

Late May is the peak of tornado season, but the recent storms have been exceptionally violent, producing very strong tornadoes, said Victor Gensini, a meteorology professor at Northern Illinois University.

“Over the weekend, we’ve had a lot of hot and humid air, a lot of gasoline, a lot of fuel for these storms. And we’ve had a really strong jet stream as well. That jet stream has been aiding in providing the wind shear necessary for these types of tornadoes,” Gensini said.

Harold Brooks, a senior scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, said a persistent pattern of warm, moist air is to blame for the string of tornadoes over the past two months.

That air is at the northern edge of a heat dome bringing temperatures typically seen at the height of summer to late May.

The heat index — a combination of air temperature and humidity to indicate how the heat feels to the human body — reached triple digits in parts of south Texas and was expected to stay there for several days.

For more information on recent tornado reports, see The Associated Press Tornado Tracker.

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Associated Press journalists around the country contributed to this report, including Ken Miller, Jennifer McDermott, Sarah Brumfield, Kathy McCormack, Acacia Coronado, Jeffrey Collins, Bruce Schreiner and Julio Cortez.


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