Severe storms claim 18 lives in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas

According to The Associated Press and Arkansas state officials, severe storms over the weekend resulted in the tragic loss of at least 18 lives across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas.

Officials reported a total of 25 tornadoes across five states.

Texas hit hard

During a news conference on Sunday evening, Governor Greg Abbott revealed that the severe weather in Texas resulted in the tragic loss of seven lives and left over 100 individuals injured.

According to Abbott, disaster declarations have been issued for 106 counties in Texas.

According to Texas officials, over 200 homes or structures were destroyed and an additional 120 were damaged.

Residents of Cooke County were caught in a terrifying tornado on Saturday night, as captured in a video from a Shell gas station. The footage, shared by Dallas-Fort Worth ABC affiliate WFAA, shows the tornado wreaking havoc on the area, with residents seeking shelter and safety amidst the chaos.

WFAA reported that fortunately, no casualties were reported among the individuals present at the gas station.

Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, expressed his grief for the lives lost in the devastating storms, emphasizing the irreplaceable nature of human life. He stressed the importance of prioritizing safety in any storm situation, urging everyone to always put life first.

Two young children, aged 2 and 5, tragically lost their lives in Cooke County, Texas, according to officials. The devastating incident claimed the lives of seven individuals in total, with the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office informing the AP about the heartbreaking news on Sunday. The incident occurred in an area located north of Dallas.

The tornado that tore through Cooke County was initially classified as an EF-2, with wind speeds reaching up to 135 mph.

According to Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington, the storm ripped through a roadside travel center near Valley View, Texas, before moving on to a community of manufactured homes.

According to WFAA, he mentioned that over 60 individuals sustained injuries.

According to Sappington, the majority of the fatalities took place at the nearby FRF Estates in Valley View. This community of manufactured homes is located about 60 miles northwest of Dallas.

Emergency response crews were conducting a thorough search of the development on Sunday morning, diligently looking for survivors amidst the extensive damage, according to his statement.

According to Sappington, one severely affected location was the Gateway AP Travel Center in Valley View. Numerous individuals sought refuge in the parking lot or the restrooms of the truck stop when they pulled off the road. Sappington reported that around 60 to 80 people were injured at this facility.

According to a statement from the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday morning, the storm has caused extensive damage to both residential and commercial properties. One of the affected establishments is the Gateway AP Travel Center, which sustained major damage. Currently, emergency services are engaged in the ongoing search for missing individuals among the debris. Additionally, there have been multiple reports of injuries of different severities.

Sappington issued a warning, advising people to avoid the storm-damaged areas while emergency crews conducted search operations for survivors and cleared debris from the roads.

Sappington emphasized the importance of people staying away during the ongoing search and rescue efforts. He expressed concern about the danger posed by downed power lines and reported gas leaks. Sappington urged people to give the emergency responders time to do their work, as they are still actively engaged in rescuing individuals. He emphasized that the best way for people to help is by allowing the search and rescue operations to proceed without interference.

A landslide in Bella Vista, Texas has resulted in the closure of Highway 340 in both directions, as reported by the Bella Vista Police Department. The heavy rains caused the ground beneath the roadway to wash out, which has severely affected the condition of the road surface.

2 killed in Arkansas, officials say

According to officials in Arkansas, a possible tornado struck early on Sunday morning, resulting in the deaths of at least two individuals. In Benton County, located in the northwest region of the state, one person was found dead. Additionally, a 26-year-old woman was tragically discovered dead outside a demolished residence in Olvey, situated in Boone County.

During a news conference, Benton County Judge Barry Moehring informed that apart from the two fatalities, a number of individuals sustained injuries in Benton County.

According to Moehring, there was an apparent tornado that tore through the town of Decatur in Benton County. Additionally, two other tornadoes seemed to have touched down near Beaver Lake.

The storm caused extensive damage in Bentonville, with numerous trees and powerlines knocked down. The courthouse in the area was also partially destroyed due to the powerful straight-line winds, according to Moehring.

Emergency crews are currently responding to reports of individuals who are trapped in the debris, according to his statement.

Photos shared on Facebook by the Rogers Police Department in Rogers, Arkansas, depict the extensive devastation in downtown Rogers. The police department reported that rescue teams were actively searching for survivors and evaluating the extent of the damage.

The Rogers Police Department took to Facebook to address the issue of people driving around barricades in the midst of their emergency response efforts. They emphasized the importance of keeping the streets clear for their team to effectively reach their destination. “All our major streets have trees or are closed, and we are still responding and trying to get to calls. Too many cars on the streets hamper our response,” the department stated in their Facebook post. They kindly requested the public to refrain from driving around barricades, as it hinders their ability to provide prompt assistance.

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