More than 20 dead after Memorial Day weekend storms batter multiple US states: Updates

Editor's Note: This page is a summary of news on severe weather for Monday, May 27. For the latest news on weather, view our file on for Tuesday, May 28.

The wave of severe storms that caused at least 22 deaths in four states over the holiday weekend reached the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Monday evening but is expected to taper off and give way to sunny skies and highs in the low 80s by midday Tuesday.

If only the southern part of the country were that fortunate.

The midsummer-like temperatures that baked the large swath from south Texas all the way through Florida on Memorial Day are expected to linger a few more days, the National Weather Service said.


An upper-level high is expected to "create a dangerous early-season heat wave over south Texas, Central Gulf Coast, and southern Florida,'' the weather service said. "High temperatures will be at or near record highs, and heat index readings over 115 degrees over the regions will also be possible.''

Parts of Texas and the mid-South are still reeling from the devastating weekend. At least eight people died in Arkansas, seven in Texas, five in Kentucky and two in Oklahoma amid twisters and storms that demolished hundreds of homes, authorities said. Meanwhile, a rancher in Colorado and 34 of his cattle died in a lightning strike.

More than 280,000 homes and businesses were out of power as of 9:30 p.m. ET on Monday, most in a swath from Missouri and Arkansas to the west stretching to Virginia and Georgia to the east. Kentucky had by far the most outages, topping 98,000.

At least four people were killed in Kentucky after a tornado ripped through Louisville on Sunday.
At least four people were killed in Kentucky after a tornado ripped through Louisville on Sunday.


∎ Parts of Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina were placed under a tornado warning until 11 p.m. on Monday, the National Weather Service announced via X.

∎ The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for New York City, northeastern New Jersey, and the lower Hudson Valley through 9 p.m. on Monday as thunderstorms and showers moved in from the southwest.

∎ Storms swept across New York on Monday triggered hours-long air travel delays as nearly 44 million people were projected to travel during the holiday. At LaGuardia Airport, planes were delayed for an average of one hour and 40 minutes Monday afternoon, while traffic to Newark Airport was delayed by 3 hours and 27 minutes on average, according to the FAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center.

Seven reported dead in Texas, including two children

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed Sunday that seven people were killed in the state and at least 100 were injured after tornadoes and other severe weather battered northern Texas, around 70 miles north of Fort Worth.

Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington said the fatalities included two children, ages 2 and 5.

A tornado plowed through southern Cooke County and parts of Denton County on Saturday night, Sappington told local news station WFAA. He said between 60 and 80 people were seeking shelter from the storm at a travel center.

"It took some time to get back in there because of all the damage with the power lines, and trees were down," he said.

At least 200 homes and buildings were destroyed and 120 were damaged amid tornado activity that traversed around 50 square miles in Texas, Abbott said. He said he would be "shocked" if the numbers did not increase as damage assessment continues.

The damage came days after another round of tornadoes wreaked havoc in central Texas, downing power lines and crushing roofs. "The hopes and dreams of Texas families and small businesses have literally been crushed by storm after storm," Abbott said. A disaster declaration Abbott issued earlier this month now includes 106 counties.

Search and rescue missions were underway, Abbott said. In addition, multiple disaster relief organizations sent volunteers to aid those affected.

Arkansas reports eight fatalities; two dead in Oklahoma

At least eight people died in Arkansas after a tornado plowed through the northwestern part of the state. The weather service confirmed Sunday night that it had found EF-3 tornado damage near the city of Decatur, about 10 miles east of the Oklahoma border.

A preliminary EF-2 tornado was later confirmed in Paragould near the state's northeast border, the weather service posted on X on Monday.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an emergency order on Sunday allocating $250,000 for disaster relief.

"I think people are just going to have to become very patient and understand that we are not going to recover from this thing overnight," Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack said.

In Oklahoma, the severe storms left two people dead in the town of Pryor, around 50 miles east of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management confirmed. The storms left around 8,400 people without power.

A tornado in Claremore, in the northeastern part of the state, "caused substantial widespread damage," including "downed trees, power lines, and essential damage to homes," city manager John Feary said. The storms left 23 people injured in the town, including three with life-threatening injuries, Feary said.

The Red Cross also opened two shelters in the area in the wake of the storm.

Five dead in Kentucky

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued a state of emergency early Monday after at least five people were killed after severe storms ripped through Louisville on Sunday afternoon. One person was "fighting for their life," Beshear said at a news conference.

After an initial storm death toll of four, the governor told CNN a fifth person perished during the cleanup after getting overheated and having a heart attack. "This has certainly been a devastating set of storms for Kentucky," Beshear said.

Those killed included a 67-year-old woman from Mercer County, a 62-year-old woman in Hardin County, a 48-year-old woman in Hopkins County and a 34-year-old man in Jefferson County.

The National Weather Service confirmed at least one tornado in Mayfield, near the southwest corner of the state. In a news conference, Beshear said the tornado traveled for about 40 miles. Some twisters "spun down then spun back up," he added.

The severe weather hit the western part of the state hardest, including damaging state highways and roads, Kentucky Secretary of Transportation Jim Gray said.

One of the "most significant impacts" of the storm was a fuel spill caused when a dock on Dale Hollow Lake, a reservoir on the border with Tennessee, broke away. Beshear said the Energy and Environment Cabinet had deployed a hazmat team to assess the situation.

Colorado rancher killed in lightning strike

Severe thunderstorms swept through the central U.S. over the weekend, and a lightning strike in Rand, Colorado, around 80 miles northwest of Denver, killed a rancher and 34 of his cattle Saturday, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

Mike Morgan, 51, was struck while feeding his cattle, authorities said in a news release. Morgan, of Walden, Colorado, was declared dead at the scene, "despite lifesaving efforts performed by bystanders and first responders," according to the release.

"On a personal note, Mike Morgan was an outstanding member of the community and will be extremely missed," Meghan Rickels, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, said in an email to USA TODAY.

What to do during a tornado warning: How to stay safe at home, outside, in a car

Storm expected to move east on Memorial Day

The storm is forecast to weaken as it moves over the eastern seaboard and the Southeast on Monday. Still, some damaging wind gusts are expected, and there's a risk of isolated tornadoes.

Parts of Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina were placed under a tornado watch until Monday evening. Early Monday, a coastal flood advisory was issued for the District of Columbia.

In New York, up to 2 inches of rain and "localized flash flooding" were possible as some severe thunderstorms are expected to move through the New York metro area through Monday evening, according to the weather service.

Stormy weather, including isolated severe thunderstorms, is expected to return to central Texas and some parts of Oklahoma on Monday afternoon and continue overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

A severe thunderstorm watch was also issued through Monday afternoon for parts of Georgia and South Carolina – the area could see hail of up to 1 inch and one or two tornadoes, the weather service said.

According to AccuWeather, southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, and parts of Mississippi and Alabama could see winds of up to 75 mph.

Contributing: Olivia Evans, Leo Bertucci, Louisville Courier Journal; Reuters

Cybele Mayes-Osterman is a breaking news reporter for USA Today. Reach her on email at Follow her on X @CybeleMO.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Memorial Day weather: Severe storms and tornadoes devastate US states