US Storms Kill at Least 21 across 4 States on Memorial Day Weekend

Larry Landeros, 9, who rode out a deadly tornado with his parents when it rolled through the previous night, surveys his destroyed home, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas. (AP)
Larry Landeros, 9, who rode out a deadly tornado with his parents when it rolled through the previous night, surveys his destroyed home, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas. (AP)
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US Storms Kill at Least 21 across 4 States on Memorial Day Weekend

Larry Landeros, 9, who rode out a deadly tornado with his parents when it rolled through the previous night, surveys his destroyed home, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas. (AP)
Larry Landeros, 9, who rode out a deadly tornado with his parents when it rolled through the previous night, surveys his destroyed home, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas. (AP)

Tornado-spawning thunderstorms that swept the US Southern Plains and Ozarks have killed at least 21 people as of Monday morning across four states and wrecked hundreds of buildings, with forecasters warning of more severe weather.

The death toll over the Memorial Day weekend includes at least eight fatalities in Arkansas, seven in Texas, four in Kentucky and two in Oklahoma, according to tallies by state emergency authorities.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early on Monday while the National Weather Service said a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for parts of Georgia and South Carolina until at least Monday afternoon.

"It was a tough night for our people," the Kentucky governor said on social media platform X on Monday. He later said in a press briefing that "devastating storms" had hit almost the entire state. Officials said 100 state highways and roads were damaged by the storms.

At least seven people perished - including two children aged 2 and 5 from a single family - and nearly 100 were injured on Saturday night when a powerful tornado struck communities in north Texas near the Oklahoma border, Governor Greg Abbott said at a Sunday news conference.

Late on Sunday, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the state had at least eight deaths after the storms. A resident in Arkansas suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease died due to lack of oxygen when the power went out.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans faced power outages on Monday due to the weather, according to the PowerOutage.US tracking website, with Kentucky alone having over 180,000 outages.

In some areas, restoring power could take days, Beshear, the Kentucky governor said in a news briefing on Monday.

The National Weather Service warned of additional storms moving through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, bringing damaging winds, large hail and more tornadoes, as well as heavy downpours capable of triggering flash floods.

The latest extreme weather came just days after a powerful tornado ripped through an Iowa town, killing four people, and more twisters touched down in Texas last week.

Meanwhile, the US was preparing for what government forecasters have called a potentially "extraordinary" 2024 Atlantic hurricane season beginning June 1.



Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)

Iran's supreme court has overturned Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi's death sentence on charges linked to the country's 2022-23 period of unrest, his lawyer wrote in a post on the X social media platform on Saturday.

"The death sentence of #Toomaj_Salehi was overturned and based on the appeal decision ...of the Supreme Court, the case will be referred to (another) branch for consideration," attorney Amir Raisian wrote on X.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the ruling.

Salehi's songs supported protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an "improper" hijab.