US storms kill at least 21 across 4 states

Death toll included eight fatalities in Arkansas, seven in Texas, four in Kentucky and two in Oklahoma.

NEW YORK (Reuters): Tornado-spawning thunderstorms that swept the Southern Plains and the Ozark Mountains have killed at least 21 people across four U.S. states.

Hundreds of buildings were also damaged as forecasters warned of more severe weather.

The death toll over the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend included at least eight fatalities in Arkansas, seven in Texas, four in Kentucky and two in Oklahoma, according to tallies by state emergency authorities.

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for parts of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania until Monday evening, the National Weather Service said. The watch was in effect for more than 30 million people in the Northeast, as the storms were expected to move to that part of the East Coast.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early on Monday. The weather service, opens new tab issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Atlanta area and other parts of Georgia and for several western South Carolina counties until at least Monday afternoon.

“It was a tough night for our people,” Beshear posted on social media platform X on Monday. He later said in a press briefing that devastating storms had hit almost the entire state. The storms damaged 100 state highways and roads, officials said.

At least seven people perished – including a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old from a family – and nearly 100 were injured on Saturday night when a powerful tornado struck communities in North Texas near the Oklahoma border, Governor Greg Abbott told a Sunday news conference.

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