Tornadoes hit Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, killing 14

image caption, A mobile home park in North Texas was swept away by the tornado

  • author, Holly Honderich
  • stock, In Washington

Tornadoes have killed at least 14 people in three US states, destroying homes and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people within minutes.

Seven people were killed in North Texas, five in Arkansas and two in Oklahoma. And 500,000 people were injured without electricity in several states.

Sheriff Ray Sappington of Cook County, Texas, where the death toll included two children, ages 2 and 5, and three other members of the same family.

“It’s a trail of debris left behind,” the sheriff told US media, adding that he expected the death toll to rise. “The devastation is too severe.”

Footage from the district showed a petrol station and rest stop almost completely destroyed, with twisted metal strewn over damaged vehicles.

Twisters overturned trucks, closed a highway near Dallas and left tens of thousands of people without power across the region.

Meanwhile, lightning, thunder and heavy rain forced the evacuation of about 125,000 spectators and delayed Indianapolis, Indiana, for more than 500 hours on Sunday.

image caption, Weather Warnings at Indy 500, Place Vacated

It was all gone in two minutes

Frank Zoldysiak, who lives in a mobile home park in north Texas, said his home was destroyed minutes after the storm passed.

He grabbed his dog, Samson, and took refuge in the restaurant’s refrigerator.

“That’s the most secure system you could ever go to. I come out and everything’s destroyed,” he said.

“It was all gone in two minutes.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said state emergency response units were activated to respond to the hurricane.

“Please pray for these families,” he said of those whose loved ones were killed. “Their loss is immeasurable.”

Storms in Texas overlapped with record heat in parts of the state, with residents receiving triple-digit temperature warnings over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

In Oklahoma, two people were killed and six injured in Mayes County, the local emergency management authority told the BBC.

Arkansas officials say a 26-year-old woman was found dead outside a destroyed home in Olvie, while another of the state’s four deaths was reported in Benton County. The state government reported that several others were injured.

Police officials in Rogers, Arkansas, said they rescued several people after the tornado downed trees and power lines and damaged gas lines.

image source, Denton Fire Department

image caption, A building was destroyed in Denton, Texas

Storms move eastward

By Sunday afternoon, the storm system had begun to move eastward, warning of strong winds and hail for those in its path, according to the National Weather Service.

About 470,000 people were without power in states from Texas to Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky, according to the website

The latest twisters follow another powerful tornado that tore through a rural Iowa town in May, killing four people.

Government forecasters have described this summer as an “exceptional” 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins next month.

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