Storms, tornadoes leave at least 15 dead in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma

A photo provided by the Denton Fire Department shows a damaged building after tornados hit North Texas over Memorial Day weekend. Photo by Denton Fire Department
A photo provided by the Denton Fire Department shows a damaged building after tornados hit North Texas over Memorial Day weekend. Photo by Denton Fire Department

May 26 (UPI) -- At least 11 people are dead after tornadoes ravaged parts of Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Hundreds more were injured, and the threat of severe weather continued into the overnight hours into Memorial Day.

Ray Sappington, the sheriff of Cooke County, Texas at the border with Oklahoma, said at a news conference that 7 of the reported deaths in the county included children, ages 2 and 5.


The storm destroyed a roadside travel center near Valley View, Texas, where between 60 and 80 people had sought shelter in the facility's bathrooms or parking lot, before moving through FRF Estates, a community of manufactured homes in town, he added.

"Emergency services are actively searching the debris for missing persons, and there have been numerous injuries of varying degrees reported," a statement from the sheriff's office said.


Meanwhile, injuries were reported as far south as the city of Sanger in Denton County, about 55 miles northwest of Dallas. The Denton Fire Department said in a statement that "multiple victims" were reported including some people "trapped" at the marina on Lake Ray Roberts. Its first responders were also being sent to Sanger to help cover calls.

"The marina took a direct hit from a large tornado last night," officials with the Ray Roberts Marina said on Facebook. "There is so much damage, we don't even know where to start."

Marina officials said that most RVs were turned over with several people trapped inside but all were rescued with no known serious injuries, though the marina's beloved dock cat, Ginder, was lost in the storm.

"Our hearts are broken but we were watched over by our Lord and Savior last night," Marina officials said. "We are blessed and very thankful today. Prayers for those who weren't as fortunate as us.

"The Denton County Office of Emergency Management said that it had opened a shelter at the Sanger ISD Indian Gym for those impacted by the storms and that the shelter would remain open overnight.

According to DFW Scanner, an emergency response news site in North Texas, crews were also working overnight to clean up several crashed vehicles including at least two 18-wheelers.


The National Weather Service office in Fort Worth said that by 1:14 a.m., the tornado threat had diminished and the supercell thunderstorm responsible for the tornadoes had continued to weaken as it moved through Delta and Hopkins Counties toward Louisiana.

The tornados came just days after another tornado hit Temple, a little further south. Photos from that tornado showed a destroyed Veterans of Foreign Wars building and several damaged homes.

Two people were killed by apparent tornadoes in Arkansas where authorities reported finding the body of a 26-year-old woman outside a house that had been destroyed in Benton County by the storm and another person was found dead in the northwest part of the state.

Several more people were reported injured in the county, authorities said. The storm also blew down power lines and uprooted trees in the county.

Authorities reported that at least two people were killed when a likely tornado struck Pryor, Oklahoma, about 45 miles east of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told Tulsa ABC affiliate KTUL.

The National Weather Service said the severe front is moving East and causing the potential for severe weather and intense storms across parts of Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, northern Tennessee, and part of Ohio.


The start of the Indianapolis 500 was delayed by severe weather Sunday, stromg storms forced 125,000 fans who arrived early for the race to evacuate the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Once the weather lifted, officials took 2.5 hours to dry the course before waving the green flag, and track president Doug Boles said the race stood a good chance of finishing before the 8:15 p.m. CT curfew.

"Our plan all along has been to get the Indianapolis 500 in today and I believe we are on track to do that," Boles said.

Residents in some parts of the Midwest are still cleaning up from storms that pounded the state Tuesday night. The region has been dealing with a spate of unstable air causing dangerous weather for a good part of the Spring.

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