A spate of at least 10 tornadoes caused destruction across the Southern Plains on Saturday that left a few people injured and the region with little time to clean up the damage before an even bigger severe threat looms at the start of the week.
The National Weather Service said an EF2 tornado, with winds up to 130 mph, destroyed two homes east of Geronimo, Okla. on Saturday and left one person with minor injuries. The NWS said the path of the twister was “very short,” but had strong winds.
Families said they were awakened around 7:45 a.m. and had little time to react as the storm bore down.
“Suddenly, the roof went ‘foom’ and that was it, and it was gone. Everything was gone,” Waldon Simmons told FOX 25.
In northwestern Arkansas, a suspected tornado damaged about 40 homes in the Fort Smith area, 40/29 News reported. Energy companies in Oklahoma and Arkansas reported tens of thousands of customers were without power as of Sunday.
“Tornado damage has been confirmed throughout Sebastian County, but I am thankful to hear that no injuries have been reported so far,” U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., said on Twitter. “Residents should be cautious of downed trees and power lines.”
The NWS said that more severe thunderstorms and flash flooding will be possible Sunday from the lower Mississippi Valley all the way into lower Michigan.
Ahead of the cold front, summer-like temperatures will bake the region on Sunday.
In Ohio, the Cleveland Marathon is expected to have muggy and windy race conditions with temperatures reaching in the low-80s before strong and severe thunderstorms bring the threat of downbursts and hail, according to FOX8.
The next outbreak is expected on Monday, which may be worse than last week and produce “significant tornadoes,” according to the NWS’ Storm Prediction Center.
A “significant severe weather event” is possible on Monday, with the threat of “significant tornadoes,” according to the National Weather Service.
(NWS Storm Prediction Center)
“Severe thunderstorms capable of all severe hazards, including strong tornadoes, are expected across portions of the Southern Plains on Monday,” the SPC said. “Significant severe weather event possible across the Southern Plains on Monday.
Portions of western and central Texas through Oklahoma and into Southern Kansas are at risk of such storms.
Wesley Mantooth lifts a wooden chair out a window of the home of his father, Robert, in Abilene, Texas, on Saturday, May 18, 2019.
(Ronald W. Erdrich/The Abilene Reporter-News via AP)
In Abilene, Texas, a city 150 miles west of Fort Worth, strong winds from a severe thunderstorm on Saturday prompted the evacuation of a nursing home and left numerous homes and businesses damaged, according to the Abilene Reporter-News.
“I heard it roar. I’m just glad to be alive,” resident Tennille Woodard told the newspaper.
Letter carrier James Hurtado resets a small U.S. flag into a tree stump while delivering the mail Saturday May 18, 2019 on S. 6th St. in Abilene.
(AP photo by Ronald W. Erdrich, Abilene Reporter-News)
Officials from the NWS are still investigating if the damage in Abilene was caused by a tornado. City officials said that only minor injuries were reported.
The NWS issued a tornado watch until 11 a.m. ET Sunday for parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. Forecasters warned of heavy rain, lightning, pingpong ball-sized hail and flooding as a line of storms moves west to east through the afternoon.
The threat of severe weather also exists in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, as thunderstorms develop during the day on Sunday and moved eastward toward the major cities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.