At least 19 people dead after tornadoes and storms rip the South and Great Plains

At least 19 people are dead, including children, and more than half a million homes and businesses are without power after 11 tornadoes and other storms ravaged several Southern and Great Plains states over Memorial Day weekend.

At least eight deaths were reported in Arkansas, seven in Texas, two in Oklahoma, and two in Kentucky, with another 110 million people remaining under severe weather warnings on Monday, including for extreme heat in some parts of the country, as the worst of the system moves toward the Northeast.

Heavy rain, wind gusts of more than 60 mph, and hail more than 2 inches in diameter could thrash Alabama and Georgia on Monday morning before heading up the East Coast through the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, and New York in the afternoon. Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., face the highest risk of tornadoes.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) issued a state of emergency in Kentucky on Monday morning hours after President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden conveyed their condolences to “everyone who has been affected,” in addition to their gratitude to first responders and emergency personnel “who have been working around the clock to save lives.”

“Jill and I are praying for those who tragically lost their lives as a result of devastating tornadoes that tore through Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, leveling entire communities and leaving a path of destruction in their wake,” the president wrote late Sunday in a statement. “This comes as communities across the Midwest and South are still reeling from deadly storms and severe weather.”

Biden added his administration is “ready to provide support as needed,” and White House aides are already “directly in touch” with state and local officials and Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives who are “on the ground conducting damage assessments.”

“With more severe weather expected across the region, we urge residents to remain vigilant and heed the warnings of local officials,” he said.

Two children, aged 2 and 5, were among the dead at the AP Travel Center in Valley View, Texas, according to the Associated Press.

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“It’s just a trail of debris left. The devastation is pretty severe,” Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington told the AP on Sunday. “It took some time to get back in there because of all the damage with the power lines, and trees were down. It was kind of a monumental task just to get back to where they were.”

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