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Texas remains in the eye of more severe weather following deadly holiday weekend tornado outbreak

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The most active spring in the U.S. for severe weather in 13 years continued Tuesday with wind gusts of more than 70 mph and thunderstorms prompting new tornado warnings in Texas after twisters tore through the Great Plains and Midwest over the Memorial Day weekend, killing 22 people and and cutting miles-long paths of destruction.

Dangerous weather whipped up again in central Texas early Tuesday, causing the National Weather Service to issue a shelter-in-place warning to residents of Fort Worth, where 77 mph wind gusts were reported in the area just before 6 a.m. CT.

By 6:30 a.m., the NWS had issued a tornado warning for residents southeast of Dallas, including the cities of Garland, Mesquite and Richardson.

Severe weather Tuesday included large-sized hail and wind gusts of over 80 mph in Dallas County, Texas, where there is a possibility of tornadoes developing throughout the day and into Tuesday night, officials said.

American Airlines said in a statement that several of its commercial jets at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were impacted by wind. Security cameras at the airport captured an American Airlines 737-800 aircraft being pushed away from a gate by the wind gusts Tuesday morning.

“Severe weather, including straight-line wind gusts up to 80 mph, at our Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) hub affected several parked unoccupied aircraft. There were no injuries. Our maintenance team is currently conducting thorough inspections and will make any needed repairs,” American Airlines said in its statement.

Severe storms were also pummeling Waco, Austin, San Antonio, Abilene and Midland. Heavy rain expected to continue over the next 24 hours is also triggering flash-flooding in many parts of central and northern Texas with 3 to 5 inches of rain forecast from Dallas to San Antonio.

Making matters worse were widespread power outages. Oncor, Texas’ largest electrical provider, reported that hundreds of thousands of customers were without power Tuesday morning.

During a news conference Tuesday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins warned that some residents could be waiting for a prolonged period to get their power restored.

“This, unfortunately, will be a multi-day power outage situation,” said Jenkins, who issued a declaration of disaster for Dallas County.

Jenkins added, “This is a broken lines problem brought about by straight-line winds.”

Jenkins said Oncor is prioritizing getting power restored to critical infrastructure, including hospitals and nursing homes that were operating Tuesday on emergency generators.

Grant Cruise, a spokesperson for Oncor, said a storm that swept through the utility company’s service territory around 5 a.m. on Tuesday brought baseball-size hail, winds over 80 mph and “a significant amount of cloud-to-ground lightning.”

Cruise said that as of 11:30 a.m. ET, more than 600,000 Oncor customers were without electricity.

Scott Forester, chief of Dallas County Emergency Management, warned people to stay away from the numerous downed powerlines in the area.

“We want to be safe. We want to make sure we stay away from downed powerlines. Assume every downed line is live,” Forester said.

At least 1,336 severe storms in the last four days have ravaged a large part of the nation from Texas through the Midwest and up to the Northeast. This spring has seen the most severe storms since 2011.

The National Weather Service said it received 76 reports of tornadoes over the holiday weekend in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.

At least 22 people were killed in severe-weather incidents over the weekend, officials said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 106 counties in Texas were under disaster declarations over the weekend, adding that more than 200 homes or structures were destroyed and another 120 were damaged.

One of the most destructive twisters touched down Saturday in Valley View, Texas, about 60 miles northwest of Dallas, causing seven deaths, including two children from the same family, officials said. The North Texas twisters caused major damage to the FRF Estates community and the Gateway AP Travel Center, both in Valley View, officials said.

The Valley View tornado, confirmed by the National Weather Service as an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita tornado rating scale with winds of up to 135 mph, was the deadliest tornado to hit Texas since December 2015 when a twister killed 10 people near Dallas.

Members of the Bolden family told ABC News that they were traveling through Valley View when a tornado warning prompted them to pull off the road and seek shelter at the Gateway AP Travel Center.

“We got out and went in the store, and five minutes later, the power went out,” Anjelic Bolden told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Tuesday. “And when the power went out, I ran to the bathroom and hid under the sink in the bathroom. I was scared for my life. I never experienced that before.”

Kenneth Bolden Sr. said he and his son took shelter in the men’s room of the travel center as the roof caved in.

“My ears were popping. You couldn’t even focus on anything because everything was just moving, people were screaming, babies were crying and all you wanted to do was wish that it was over,” Bolden Sr. told GMA.

The dangerous weather also prompted major delays for holiday travelers at airports in Dallas, Atlanta and New York City.

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