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Affected by May 26 tornadoes? Find relief resources here.

After severe weather across the South, East Coast braces for potential flooding, tornadoes

A man looks at a damaged car after a tornado hit the day before, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas. Powerful storms left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where drivers took shelter during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S.
Julio Cortez
/
AP
A man looks at a damaged car after a tornado hit the day before, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas. Powerful storms left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where drivers took shelter during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S.

A large swath of the eastern U.S. was bracing for severe weather as the Memorial Day weekend came to a close. Deadly storms over the long weekend also knocked out power to hundreds of thousands across the South and disrupted holiday travel at busy airports in the northeast.

Severe storms were expected to stretch from Alabama to upstate New York on Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters said the storms could lead to intense rainfall in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with flash flooding possible. Hail, heavy winds and tornadoes were also possible from northeast Maryland to the Catskill Mountains of New York, according to the NWS.

The threat of severe weather Monday followed a string of powerful and deadly storms that swept through the South and parts of the Midwest over the holiday weekend. At least 23 people were killed in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky as a result of severe weather.

Earlier in the week, a deadly tornado also hit Iowa.

In a news conference Monday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said four people were killed in four different counties after storms ripped through most of the state Sunday. Later Monday, Beshear confirmed a fifth storm-related death.

The tiny southwestern Kentucky community of Charleston took a direct hit from a tornado, officials said.

Beshear said the twister appeared to have been on the ground for 40 miles.

“It could have been much worse,” Beshear said of this weekend’s storms. “The people of Kentucky are very weather aware with everything we’ve been through.”

To the east of Charleston, parts of Hopkins County, Kentucky, also saw damage Sunday night. Western Kentucky, including a number of communities in Hopkins County, endured a series of devastating tornadoes in 2021 that killed 81 people.

“There were a lot of people that were just getting their lives put back together and then this,” Hopkins County emergency management director Nick Bailey was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. “Almost the same spot, the same houses and everything."

The website Poweroutage.us reported hundreds of thousands without power on Monday. More than 120,000 customers in Kentucky were without power as of 5:30 p.m. ET, according to the website. Data showed Arkansas and West Virginia each had more than 40,000 customers without electricity.

The White House said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was on the ground conducting damage assessments with state and local authorities. President Biden has directed federal agencies to provide support as needed.

Holiday travel had also been disrupted as a result of the weekend storms.

According to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware, more than 400 flights in the U.S. had been canceled as of 5:30 p.m. Monday — and another 5,200-plus flights had been delayed. New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey were most affected by delays and cancellations.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Dave Mistich
Originally from Washington, W.Va., Dave Mistich joined NPR part-time as an associate producer for the Newcast unit in September 2019 — after nearly a decade of filing stories for the network as a Member station reporter at West Virginia Public Broadcasting. In July 2021, he also joined the Newsdesk as a part-time reporter.