Tornadoes and flash floods threaten millions from Texas to Missouri

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers looks at the dangerous weather heading toward Texas and Oklahoma-- states that have already been battered by thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Posted: May 21, 2019 11:50 AM
Updated: May 21, 2019 11:50 AM

Fears of flash flooding followed a series of potentially life-threatening tornadoes that swept through parts of Texas and Oklahoma Monday night.

A total of 14 tornadoes were confirmed in central Oklahoma and western Texas, carrying warnings of "considerable" damage to homes, businesses and vehicles and the possibility of "complete destruction."

At least two of them were "large and extremely dangerous," according to the National Weather Service: one in Greer County, Oklahoma, and another in Dickens County, Texas.

More than 4 million people are still in harm's way from Texas to Missouri as forecasters warned of violent tornadoes overnight, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

Violent tornadoes make up only 0.5% of all tornadoes but account for about half of all tornado deaths, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

In addition to threats from tornadoes, more than 50 million people are at risk of other severe weather, including fierce winds, large hail and flash flooding.

"There is also a high risk for flash flooding from parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, where rainfall totals of 3-6 inches will fall on already saturated ground," CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

Threats to watch for overnight

In Texas, a tornado warning remained in effect Monday night for counties including northwestern Nolan, southwestern Fisher and northeastern Mitchell County.

The advisories warned of "flying debris" and the likelihood of damage to roofs, windows and vehicles.

The NWS Storm Prediction Center also issued a severe thunderstorm watch for portions of south-central Missouri.

Primary threats include scattered damaging winds, significant gusts to 75 mph, very large hail events and a possible tornado or two.

Destructive hail and brutal winds are also possible Tuesday.

Oklahoma City and Texas cities such as Lubbock, Amarillo and Abilene could get pounded with baseball-sized hail and hurricane-force winds, the NWS said.

The damage so far

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management issued a weather update Monday at 7:30 p.m. Central Time with the following highlights:

Greer County: 3 homes damaged, 1 apartment complex with roof damage, damage to fairgrounds and airport. Numerous power lines down

Garvin County: 100 sandbags requested for possible river flooding

Logan County: Power polls down, tree damage, damage to a barn

Noble County: Roof damage to homes, power lines down, barns damaged

So far, power outages statewide have reached 2,085.

Numerous highways are closed due to high water or storm debris. Authorities warned drivers to stay off the road in anticipation of additional flooding expected overnight.

"You can almost smell them coming"

Earlier Monday, the Storm Prediction Center issued a rare "particularly dangerous situation" tornado watch for much of western and central Oklahoma, including the entire Oklahoma City metro area.

The designation warned of potentially "intense and long-track tornadoes" with severe wind in excess of 75 mph, and hail larger than two inches.

The watch area includes Moore, where a devastating tornado killed 24 people in 2013. On Monday, the weather advisories brought back memories of the devastation, almost six years later to the day.

After Amber Anderson's home was destroyed in 2013, her family chose a new one with a large underground storm shelter.

Her home is behind Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children were killed in 2013. Her husband and brother-in-law helped clear collapsed walls from the school's wreckage, she said.

She described the threat on the anniversary of the 2013 storm as "anxiety inducing." Just talking about it nearly brings her to tears.

She spent Sunday stocking up on storm shelter supplies, including boots and gloves in case they have to dig neighbors out of their homes, she said. It was one of the lessons she learned from the last tornado.

"You can feel it in the air. Once you've been in a tornado, you can almost smell them coming," she said, recalling a "misty, dirty lake water smell."

Closures across Oklahoma

The risk is so high, schools are closed in some of the hardiest, most storm-weathered cities, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Tinker Air Force Base, about 8 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, evacuated ahead of the storm. Several airlines canceled afternoon and evening flights at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.

52 tornadoes in 3 days

States such as Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas are still reeling from weekend tornadoes and storms.

In the past three days, 52 tornadoes were reported across seven states.

In Ville Platte, Louisiana, a possible tornado damaged more than 50 homes and businesses, CNN affiliate WBRZ reported.

Further west, the storm wiped out roofs, barns and trees in DeRidder, CNN affiliate KPLC reported.

"We woke up to the sound of glass breaking, and went in and saw the window in the kitchen was broken," resident Dorine Bearden told KPLC.

"Before, I had always told my husband it looked like we lived in a park," she said. "And when I looked out there, that park was gone. It was heartbreaking."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 818652

Reported Deaths: 15378
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147091924
Mobile724971336
Madison52231697
Shelby37575349
Baldwin37224549
Tuscaloosa35073612
Montgomery34092739
Lee23519246
Calhoun22221482
Morgan20910378
Etowah19816498
Marshall18338303
Houston17360412
St. Clair16034339
Cullman15406293
Limestone15328199
Elmore15186286
Lauderdale14270295
Talladega13827281
DeKalb12637261
Walker11180370
Blount10179176
Autauga9967148
Jackson9860183
Coffee9205191
Dale8884185
Colbert8840201
Tallapoosa7079198
Escambia6766132
Covington6706183
Chilton6633161
Russell635259
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion4995126
Dallas4949200
Pike4791105
Clarke475484
Geneva4568127
Winston4507103
Lawrence4309117
Bibb424686
Barbour357576
Marengo337890
Monroe331463
Randolph329864
Butler325896
Pickens315682
Henry311966
Hale311188
Cherokee302360
Fayette292379
Washington251351
Cleburne247460
Crenshaw244875
Clay243068
Macon234163
Lamar223347
Conecuh185953
Coosa180040
Lowndes174764
Wilcox168739
Bullock151644
Perry138340
Sumter132938
Greene126644
Choctaw88227
Out of AL00
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Columbus
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Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
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