At least 15 dead in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky after severe weather roars across South (2024)

VALLEY VIEW, Texas -- Powerful storms killed at least 15 people and left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens sought shelter in a restroom during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S.

The storms inflicted their worst damage in a region spanning from north of Dallas to the northwest corner of Arkansas, and the system threatened to bring more violent weather to other parts of the Midwest later in the day. By Monday, forecasters said, the greatest risk would shift to the east, covering a broad swath of the country from Alabama to near New York City.

Seven deaths were reported in Cooke County, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, where a tornado Saturday night plowed through a rural area near a mobile home park, officials said. Storms also killed two people and destroyed houses in Oklahoma, where the injured included guests at an outdoor wedding. Tens of thousands of residents were without power across the region.

"It's just a trail of debris left. The devastation is pretty severe," Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington told The Associated Press.

The dead included two children, ages 2 and 5, the sheriff said. The Texas county includes the small community of Valley View, which was among the hardest-hit areas. Three family members were found dead in one home, Sappington said.

Hugo Parra, who lives in Farmers Branch, north of Dallas, said he rode out the storm with 40 to 50 people in the bathroom of the truck stop near Valley View. The storm sheared the roof and walls off the building, mangling metal beams and leaving battered cars in the parking lot.

"A firefighter came to check on us and he said, 'You're very lucky,'" Parra said. "The best way to describe this is the wind tried to rip us out of the bathrooms."

Multiple people were transported to hospitals by ambulance and helicopter in Denton County, Texas, also north of Dallas. But officials did not immediately know the full extent of the injuries.

At least five people were killed in Arkansas, including a 26-year-old woman who was found dead outside a destroyed home in Olvey, a small community in Boone County, according to Daniel Bolen of the county's emergency management office. Another person died in Benton County, and two more bodies were found in Marion County. In Oklahoma, two people died in Mayes County, east of Tulsa, officials said.

Elsewhere, a man was killed Sunday in Louisville, Kentucky, when a tree fell on him, police said. Louisville Mayor Craig Greenburg confirmed it was a storm-related death on social media.

At least 15 dead in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky after severe weather roars across South (1)

Footage is from Sanger, Texas, which is about 52 miles north of Dallas.


The destruction continued a grim month of deadly severe weather in the nation's midsection.

Tornadoes in Iowa this week left at least five people dead and dozens injured. The deadly twisters have spawned during a historically bad season for tornadoes, at a time when climate change contributes to the severity of storms around the world. April had the second-highest number of tornadoes on record in the country.

Meteorologists and authorities had issued urgent warnings to seek cover as the storms marched across the region late Saturday and into Sunday morning. "If you are in the path of this storm take cover now!" the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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

Brooks recommended that travelers passing through threatened areas over the Memorial Day weekend should have a plan for a weather emergency.

Travelers who have already chosen where to get food and other essentials "probably ought to be thinking about what could I do if there's a dangerous situation to save my life," Brooks said.


Daybreak began to reveal the full scope of the devastation.

Residents awoke Sunday to overturned cars and collapsed garages. Some residents could be seen pacing and assessing the damage. Nearby, neighbors sat on the foundation of a wrecked home.

In Valley View, near the truck stop, the storms ripped the roofs off homes and blew out windows. Clothing, insulation, bits of plastic and other pieces of debris were wrapped around miles of barbed wire fence line surrounding grazing land in the rural area.

Kevin Dorantes, 20, was in nearby Carrollton when he learned the tornado was bearing down on the Valley View neighborhood where he lived with his father and brother. He called the two of them and told them to take cover in the windowless bathroom, where they rode out the storm and survived unharmed.

Some of his Dorantes' neighbors weren't so lucky.

As he wandered through the neighborhood of downed power lines and devastated houses, he came upon a family whose home was reduced to a pile of splintered rubble. A father and son were trapped under debris, and friends and neighbors raced to get them out, Dorantes said.

"They were conscious but severely injured," Dorantes said. "The father's leg was snapped."


The severe weather knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the path of the storms.

More than 100,000 customers in Arkansas were without power Sunday. In neighboring Missouri, more than 100,000 were also without power along the southern state border. Texas reported 57,000 outages while 7,400 were reported in Oklahoma, according to the tracking website

Inaccessible roads and downed power lines in Oklahoma also led officials in the town of Claremore, near Tulsa, to announce on social media that the city was "shut down" due to the damage.


The system causing the latest severe weather was expected to move east over the rest of the holiday weekend.

The start of the Indianapolis 500 was delayed as a strong storm pushed into the area, forcing Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials to evacuate about 125,000 race fans. The video boards inside the speedway flashed that a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect as the band of rain, along with dangerous wind and lightning, approached from the west.

More severe storms were predicted in Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky.

The risk of severe weather moves into North Carolina and Virginia on Monday, forecasters said.

Associated Press reporters Sophia Tareen in Chicago; Kathy McCormack in Concord, N.H.; Acacia Coronado in Austin, Texas; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; and Sara Cline in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

At least 15 dead in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky after severe weather roars across South (2024)


At least 15 dead in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky after severe weather roars across South? ›

VALLEY VIEW, Texas (AP) — Powerful storms killed at least 15 people, injured hundreds and left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens sought shelter in a restroom during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S.

How many people died in the Arkansas tornado? ›

BENTONVILLE -- Tornadoes ripped through north Arkansas on early Sunday resulting in eight fatalities, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a news conference Sunday night at the Benton County sheriff's office with U.S. Sen. John Boozman, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, state officials and area mayors.

Where did the tornadoes hit in Texas? ›

Tornadoes in North Texas resulted in at least seven deaths and significant damage. At least three tornadoes were confirmed Saturday night in Cooke, Collin, and Denton counties. On Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott added these counties, along with Montague County, to the state's disaster declaration.

Where did the tornado hit in Kentucky? ›

The December 2021 tornado outbreak spawned at least 66 tornadoes, including an EF-4 tornado that ripped apart a 165-mile path in Kentucky and decimated the small town of Mayfield. Some homes in Barnsley had just finished construction before being demolished by another storm.

How many people died in the Valley View tornado? ›

Investigators say seven people died in the storms, including four children, with all the deaths coming in the Valley View area of Cooke County. NBC 5 has now learned the names of all seven of those victims.

What state has the most deaths from tornadoes? ›

Answer 1: Alabama, Missouri and Mississippi. Of the 941 fatalities caused by tornadoes since 2010, 57% have occurred in these three states alone and only by a few very powerful and large tornadoes.

What was the worst tornado death? ›

The deadliest tornado in world history was the Daulatpur–Saturia tornado in Bangladesh on April 26, 1989, which killed approximately 1,300 people. In the history of Bangladesh, at least 19 tornadoes killed more than 100 people each, almost half of the total for the world.

What city in Texas has the worst weather? ›

What part of Texas has the worst weather overall? That honor, (or dishonor), goes to Fort Worth in Tarrant County according to They only compared data between the 5 biggest cities in Texas so, you have to give them a little room here.

What city in Texas is Tornado Alley? ›

Since 1950, the county with the most reported tornadoes is Harris County, which includes Houston. Here, the National Weather Service has confirmed 247 tornado reports since 1950.

What part of Texas has never had a tornado? ›

What part of Texas has no tornadoes? While no part of Texas is immune from tornadoes, areas of far West Texas, El Paso, and Central Texas see the lowest occurrence of tornadoes in the state.

What part of Kentucky gets the most tornadoes? ›

Top Cities and Areas Affected

Kentucky as a whole has a low to moderate risk of tornadoes, but some parts of the state are more susceptible than others. Here are the cities (with a population over 1,000) with the highest Tornado Risk Index: Louisville. Jeffersontown.

Is Kentucky in the Tornado Alley? ›

When you think of tornado alley, your mind likely goes to states like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. But in the last 20 to 30 years, data has shown that Tornado Alley has been marching east, with more tornadoes occurring in the South's Dixie Alley and states like Tennessee and Kentucky.

When was the last time Kentucky had a tornado? ›


Where do the worst tornadoes in the world happen? ›

The deadliest tornadoes by far have occurred in a small area of Bangladesh and East India. In this 8,000-square-mile (21,000 km2) area, 24 of the 42 tornadoes which are known to have killed 100 or more people occurred.

What was the biggest tornado event? ›

On March 18, 1925, the deadliest single tornado in the history of the United States occurred. The enormous storm affected people in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, hence the name. As a result, almost 700 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured.

Where was the biggest tornado ever located? ›

El Reno, Oklahoma

What was the worst tornado to hit Arkansas? ›

ROGERS, Ark. —

This tornado would be the largest in Arkansas history, but a tornado that hit northwest of Decatur at about the same time was 1.8 miles wide. The tornado developed along SE Walton Boulevard, widened as it crossed Interstate 49, then turned and crossed S Dixieland Road.

How many people died in the 1979 tornado? ›

Tornadoes of 1979
Tracks of all US tornadoes in 1979.
TimespanJanuary 1 - December 23, 1979
Damage (U.S.)Unknown
Fatalities (U.S.)84
Fatalities (worldwide)>84
3 more rows

When was the last ef5 tornado in Arkansas? ›

As is the case across the country, the average Arkansas tornado since 1950 is very weak (F1. 25); there has been only one recorded F5 tornado in the state, on April 10, 1929.

How many people died in the 1953 tornado? ›

In all, there were 523 tornado-related fatalities in the US alone in 1953, the most since 1925. This high a death toll would not be repeated until 2011. There were 5,131 injuries recorded throughout the year as well.


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