Weather alerts for millions of Americans after tornadoes kill 21 people

More than 120 million Americans woke up Monday to severe weather warnings, after massive storms killed at least 21 people and left a path of destruction across the central United States.

Devastating tornadoes and storms left nearly 600,000 residents in 13 states without power, destroyed homes and injured hundreds.

Forecasters said the greatest weather risk will now shift eastward, covering a wide swath of the country, from Alabama to New York.

More thunderstorms, damaging wind gusts, hail and flash flooding are expected.

Heavy rain is expected to hit parts of the East Coast, with more thunderstorms emerging in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic on Monday afternoon. Washington, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania are at risk for tornadoes.

The scorching heat will also continue in parts of the southern United States.

Sunday was the most active severe weather day in the U.S. so far this year, with more than 600 reports of storm damage in 20 states. Tornadoes and high winds reduced buildings to piles of rubble, overturned cars and downed power lines.

Meanwhile, lightning, thunder and heavy rain forced the evacuation of about 125,000 spectators as Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 race was delayed four hours.

Weather deaths were reported in four states, including eight in Arkansas, seven in Texas, two in Oklahoma and four in Kentucky.

On Monday, Kentucky Governor Andy Bashear declared a state of emergency after storms hit much of the state.

“Last night many families and communities were not safe,” he said. “We had devastating storms that hit almost the entire state.”

Confirming that four people had died, Governor Bashear said a fifth was “fighting for his life”.

In Colorado, a farmer and 34 of his cows were killed by a lightning strike.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said more than a third of counties were subject to a disaster declaration after extreme weather hit the state.

The state’s seven deaths were reported in Valley View in Cooke County, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, after a tornado hit a rural area near a mobile home park.

Among the dead were two children, ages two and five, and three members of the same family.

Images from the area showed a gas station and rest stop almost completely destroyed, with twisted metal strewn over damaged vehicles.

The latest tornadoes followed another powerful tornado that ripped through a rural Iowa town and killed four people in early May.

Government forecasters have also described this summer as a possibly “extraordinary” 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, set to begin next month.

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