United States

Severe Weather Marks Memorial Day: Rain On East Coast, Heatwave In The South

Memorial Day continues with challenging weather across the United States. The East Coast braces for heavy rain and possible isolated tornadoes, while the South endures record-breaking heat.

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After a weekend of intense and deadly storms across the central United States, Memorial Day weather continues to be problematic, albeit with somewhat less severe impacts.

Storms Leave A Trail Of Destruction

Over the weekend, powerful storms and suspected tornadoes swept through states including Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, claiming at least 19 lives, four of whom were children. The devastation left behind piles of rubble, damaged cars, and destroyed buildings, with severe winds and rain downing trees and power lines. More than 600,000 people across 12 states lost power. The 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 was delayed by four hours due to the weather.

In Kentucky, harsh storms continued overnight, causing significant damage. Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early Monday. In Bowling Green, downed phone lines led police to set up alternative emergency numbers. The National Weather Service office in Paducah dispatched storm survey teams to assess the damage.

Two storm-related deaths were reported in Kentucky—one in Mercer County and another in Louisville, about 70 miles away. As the storm system moves east on Monday, its most violent effects are expected to diminish.

Heavy Rain And Possible Tornadoes On The East Coast

The East Coast braces for heavy rain on Memorial Day, with isolated tornadoes possible along the Interstate 95 corridor from Newark, New Jersey, to the Carolinas. Major cities face threats from damaging winds as the storm front moves into the Eastern Seaboard by Tuesday evening.

“There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms over parts of eastern Missouri and the Ohio Valley,” said the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, adding that the risk includes frequent lightning, severe wind gusts, hail, and a few tornadoes. Flash flooding is a concern in low-lying and urban areas from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast.

Scorching Heat In The South

While the East Coast deals with rain, the South is set to bake under excessive heat. Southern Texas, the central Gulf Coast, and southern Florida face record-breaking high temperatures. Houston, New Orleans, Miami, Mobile, Tampa, and Charleston are among the cities expected to experience extreme warmth on Monday, with heat index readings possibly exceeding 115 degrees.

In Houston, the heat index is forecast to reach around 110 degrees, while Laredo could see a staggering 119 degrees. Nightfall may not bring much relief, as overnight temperatures are expected to be 10 to 15 degrees above normal. The excessive heat poses significant risks, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children, older adults, pregnant women, and outdoor workers.

Climate Change And Heat Risks

The increasing frequency and intensity of heatwaves are linked to human-driven climate change. Last year's warm season saw a 20% increase in heat-related illnesses compared to the previous five seasons. With global temperatures continuing to rise, the risks associated with excessive heat—currently the deadliest form of extreme weather—are becoming more widespread.

As Memorial Day brings a mix of heavy rain and sweltering heat, communities across the affected regions are urged to stay safe and take necessary precautions.