Deadly storms turn northeast at 68 million severe weather risk

At least 68 million people are under severe weather warnings on Memorial Day, after storms claimed lives in the Northeast. At least 21 people and half a million homes and businesses across Central America are without power.

Severe storms will move into Arkansas and Tennessee and the Ohio Valley before moving north up the East Coast through the Carolinas, Pennsylvania and New York. Heavy rain, winds up to 60 mph and hail of more than 2 inches are expected, with tornadoes possible, NBC meteorologist Michelle Grossman said in a statement early Monday.

Flash flood warnings are in place for 9 million people, mostly in Tennessee, Kentucky and southern Indiana.

The severe weather extended into Colorado, where lightning killed a rancher and his 34 cattle near the town of Rand, about 80 miles northwest of Denver, the Jackson County coroner said. Mike Morgan, 51, was feeding cattle from a trailer when the bolt struck an open pasture; The remaining 100 cows were not harmed, police said.

PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks power outages, said 420,000 homes and businesses were without power. 11:30 a.m. ET in affected areas, including more than 170,000 in Kentucky. West Virginia had more than 66,000, the site said.

At a news conference Monday morning, Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, said the storm had killed at least four people in his state: a 67-year-old woman in Mercer County; a 62-year-old woman in Hardin County; 48-year-old woman in Hopkins County; and a 34-year-old man in Jefferson County. Another man was “fighting for his life,” Beshear said.

“We had devastating storms that hit almost the entire state,” Beshear said, calling Sunday a “sad night.”

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Some Kentucky State Police phone lines were damaged by the storms, but 911 calls were routed to other agencies, Beshear said.

Beshear said the weather caused extensive damage to homes and businesses. But there was one bright spot.

“The tree fell on the girl who was riding the bike and miraculously, the bike was damaged but she is fine,” he said. “There’s a little bit of God’s hand in that story.”

Monday’s weather warnings come after a severe weekend across southern states and the Great Plains. Eight people were reported dead in Arkansas; seven in Texas; Two in Oklahoma, four in Kentucky. Casualties have been caused by weather-related incidents including falling trees.

A cyclone was confirmed across the region. Images from the small farming community of Valley View, Texas, about 55 miles north of Fort Worth, showed homes and vehicles destroyed. Weather watchers released photos Missouri And Kentucky Huge, ominous funnel clouds and golf ball-sized hailstones show up.

The National Weather Service will send at least two teams to survey the damage across Kentucky, a process in progress It will take several days. A state of emergency was declared in several counties in Kentucky and parts of Arkansas.

As a cold front heads north, extreme heat warnings are in place for South and Central Texas, where temperatures could soar above 100 degrees Monday, breaking daily records.

The National Weather Service said in a forecast that the heat index — a measure of how hot it is — could reach a dangerous 120 degrees in the Lone Star State. Similarly warm weather is forecast for Key West, Florida and surrounding areas.

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