Monster severe storms struck the central United States once again, sparking life-threatening impacts such as long-track tornadoes and flash flooding across the region through Monday night.
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a high risk for portions of Oklahoma and Texas, the first time a high risk warning has been issued by the agency since May 2017. The severe outbreak was the highest tornado risk since April 14, 2012.
Storms on Monday produced golf ball-sized hail and strong wind gusts across the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma.
Confirmed tornadoes left damage behind in north of Mangum, Oklahoma, and another tornado near Paducah, Texas.
AP Photo/Garret Fischer
Rope tornado in Paducah, Texas.
Rope tornado in Paducah, Kentucky.
Baseball-sized hail in Wellington, Texas.
Extremely large hail in Wellington, Texas.
According to AccuWeather forecasters, straight-line wind gusts, in lieu of a tornado, can reach an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 90 mph, which will knock down trees and cut off power in some communities.
Monday’s severe weather danger came on the heels of a severe weather outbreak that struck the region late last week through the weekend. At least 50 tornado reports came in across the central and southern Plains. The threat will continue with many areas at risk again Tuesday.
The primary concern area into the late Monday night hours were central Oklahoma; the Oklahoma City metro area; southwest through Lawton, Oklahoma; and Wichita Falls, Texas, to the area between Abilene and Midland, Texas. Much of that area is also at high risk to see flooding, particularly from central Oklahoma to southeast Kansas and much of west central and southwestern Missouri.
This image shows the central U.S. around midday Monday on May 20, 2019. (Image/NOAA/CCIRA/RAMMB)
Timmer said Monday’s threat was one of the “more prolific severe weather setups we have seen in several years.” Residents in the high-risk area should have a severe weather safety plan in place, he added.
In advance of the storms, schools closed in parts of Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City metro area. Tinker Air Force Base said it was evacuating aircraft, but the base’s operating status remains open.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms continue to inundate the Leach and Peggs, Oklahoma, areas after a tornado produced significant damage in both communities Monday night. Flooding continues to be a major concern in the area.
Emergency responders are checking for injuries and attempting to assess and begin cleaning up the storm damage.
A tornado that tore through Peggs, Oklahoma, has damaged numerous buildings and mobile homes. One family was inside their mobile home when it was flipped and seriously damaged by the storm. Miraculously, none of the family members were injured.
FAMILY SURVIVES TORNADO IN MOBILE HOME IN PEGGS! Skywarn Spotter Luke sent this pic from Kimberly Fish’s family in Peggs…daughter, husband, & three kids were inside when a tornado flipped their mobile home…& they were uninjured! They are INCREDIBLY lucky! #okwx@LauraMockWXpic.twitter.com/frQ4LbwJ6o
A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Rolla, Missouri, and surrounding areas until 12:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday. This violent line of storms has a history of producing roof and property damage near Montreal, Missouri.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Rolla MO, Fort Leonard Wood MO, Saint James MO until 12:30 AM CDT pic.twitter.com/2PRkSvVB30
AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer captured incredible footage of a tornado that caused significant structural damage to the northwest of Mangum, Oklahoma, on Monday afternoon.
Video of tornadoes in MANGUM, OK earlier, including a large tornado that caused substantial structural damage west/northwest of town. We were unable to deploy the rockets after a few hook slices, then got stuck behind the monster line of storm chasers @firstname.lastname@example.org/9giIxyuYSZ
The storm that produced a tornado near Rotan, Texas, continues to move northeastward toward McCaulley and Hamlin, Texas. A tornado warning is in effect for eastern Fisher and northwestern Jones counties.
More severe damage is shown in Mangum, Oklahoma. Many homes and structures were destroyed. Reports say there are no reported injuries.
‼️Heartbroken for our friends in Mangum. Ag Barn hit by tornado… at least two pigs killed. Three homes destroyed. No humans seriously hurt. Roof taken off apartment building. Several power lines down. pic.twitter.com/HY4mGF51d6
The storm southeast of Midland, Texas, is very dangerous and has a history of producing a tornado.
708 PM CDT The storm SE of Midland has an incredible structure and is still VERY DANGEROUS! This storm has a history of producing a TORNADO and can still produce one. If you are in the warned area, please TAKE COVER! #txwxpic.twitter.com/HFtAuzfSOB
A new tornado warning has been issued for a storm located 9 miles south of Lomax, Texas. A tornado is possible in this area as well as lightning, heavy rainfall and golf ball-sized hail.
640PM CDT: Three discrete supercells lined up from Stanton to Crane. These are very dangerous storms and the northern most storm has a history of producing tornadoes! STAY INDOORS if you are near any of these storms! #txwxpic.twitter.com/VFqJLqBzuC
A confirmed tornado was located near Paducah, Texas, moving northeast at 40 mph. Reports indicate it is a rope tornado.
Rope tornado in Paducah, Texas. (Twitter/MattChow97)
1:35 p.m. CDT Monday:
A new tornado watch has been issued across central Oklahoma and parts of northern Texas. This is a particularly dangerous situation and includes Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ardmore, and Elk City, Oklahoma, and Wichita Falls and Seymour, Texas.
“This is only the second watch in SPC history where every category of watch probabilities ([tornado], wind, hail) are at greater than 95%. The only other watch like this was issued for Alabama on 27 April 2011,” SPC said on Twitter.
Behind the scenes on the PDS tornado watch being coordinated between SPC lead forecaster John Hart and WFO meteorologist Alex Zwink. pic.twitter.com/AblgVahKt1
“This includes City Hall, Public Works, Parks & Recreation (The Station and the Brand Senior Center). Thank you and please be weather aware through today, tonight, and into tomorrow,” officials said in a statement.
May 20 is the six-year anniversary of the EF5 tornado that leveled Moore.
A billboard along a highway in Oklahoma is warning drivers of the elevated severe weather on Monday. (Twitter/@RyanToemmes)
The first tornado watch of the day has been issued for part of the Texas Panhandle. A tornado watch means that conditions will become favorable for tornadoes to develop in the coming hours.
This is a particularly dangerous situation. Intense tornadoes, grapefruit-sized hail and winds over 70 mph are likely with storms that develop in this area.
11:50 a.m. CDT Monday:
AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer discussed the substantial threats associated with the severe weather danger in the central and southern Plains today.