Deadly storms turn northeast at 68 million severe weather risk

At least 68 million people were under severe weather warnings on Memorial Day, as storms turned northeast, killing at least 20 people and leaving half a million homes and businesses without power across Central America.

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 a rancher and his 34 cattle died after being struck by lightning 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 460,000 homes and businesses were without power as of 9:30 a.m. in affected areas, including more than 182,000 in Kentucky. Alabama had more than 80,000, the site said.

Kentucky State Police said some emergency phone lines were damaged and were not working NBC affiliate WNKY Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“It’s been a tough night for our people,” Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, wrote on Facebook Monday morning. The state has already reported three weather-related deaths, according to the mayor, including one in Louisville and one in Mercer County, according to the county’s emergency management director.

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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, two 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 at least five counties in Kentucky and parts of Arkansas.

As a cold front moves 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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