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.

Confirmed Cases: 31257

Reported Deaths: 1114
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds253640
DeSoto162016
Madison131434
Jones112849
Neshoba99271
Rankin95112
Harrison93311
Lauderdale91079
Forrest87842
Scott77315
Jackson63816
Copiah60715
Washington5919
Leake57819
Holmes55741
Lee55219
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51618
Yazoo5136
Lowndes49413
Leflore49151
Grenada4905
Lincoln46634
Lamar4657
Pike44112
Monroe40330
Sunflower4008
Lafayette3934
Attala36123
Covington3595
Panola3526
Bolivar34014
Newton3399
Simpson3233
Adams31318
Pontotoc2926
Tate28810
Marion28411
Chickasaw27918
Claiborne27910
Noxubee2678
Winston2666
Jasper2636
Pearl River25732
Clay25111
Marshall2343
Smith21811
Union2109
Clarke20724
Walthall2045
Coahoma2016
Kemper17914
Lawrence1782
Yalobusha1737
Carroll16611
Humphreys1509
Tallahatchie1374
Itawamba1368
Montgomery1352
Calhoun1324
Tippah13111
Hancock13013
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1124
Jefferson1083
Prentiss1083
Greene1058
Tunica1053
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George893
Tishomingo831
Quitman780
Choctaw744
Alcorn712
Perry674
Stone651
Franklin452
Benton380
Sharkey380
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5410152
Montgomery4158103
Mobile4129134
Tuscaloosa232142
Marshall172410
Madison14917
Lee141137
Shelby133423
Morgan11215
Walker97824
Elmore94314
Franklin89814
Baldwin8949
Dallas8919
Etowah75013
DeKalb7375
Chambers64227
Butler63428
Autauga61012
Tallapoosa60569
Russell5650
Houston5074
Unassigned50323
Limestone5010
Lauderdale4966
Lowndes47221
Cullman4594
Pike4375
Colbert4086
St. Clair4022
Escambia3966
Coffee3812
Calhoun3765
Covington3707
Bullock36910
Barbour3532
Talladega3177
Hale31421
Marengo31211
Dale2990
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Jackson2842
Clarke2776
Winston2633
Chilton2522
Blount2431
Monroe2392
Pickens2366
Marion23313
Conecuh2107
Randolph2099
Macon1999
Choctaw19512
Bibb1941
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1117
Lawrence1100
Cherokee1027
Geneva830
Lamar781
Fayette711
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne381
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