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Storms and tornadoes leave at least 18 dead in the US

At least 18 people, including four children, died in four states after tornadoes ripped through the central United States overnight and as millions face severe weather threats through the rest of Memorial Day weekend.

Just under 109 million people across large swaths of the U.S. were under threat from large hail, damaging winds and severe storms on Sunday, mostly in the Mid-Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee river valleys.

As the storms move east, the Storm Prediction Center warned of “violent tornadoes, extreme hail and widespread wind damage corridors.”

President Joe Biden was briefed on the storms.

An enhanced tornado watch considered a rare “particularly dangerous situation,” warning of “multiple tornadoes and a low intense probability” went into effect Sunday, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

This is a special type of tornado warning issued only when there is exceptionally high confidence in the potential for multiple tornadoes of at least EF2 strength and long duration in the area, according to the National Weather Service.

Supercell thunderstorms firing in the viewing area will also be capable of causing large hailstones larger than the size of baseballs and damaging wind gusts of up to approximately 70 mph (121 km/h).

“Intense supercell thunderstorms will continue to develop across the viewing area throughout this evening. Multiple tornadoes are likely, some of which are expected to be intense. Very large hail is also likely, along with the risk of potentially significant damaging wind gusts,” the Storm Prediction Center states.

Biden sends condolences to storm victims

In a statement Sunday, President Joe Biden sent condolences to the people killed in the weekend storms and “all who were affected,” and thanked first responders and emergency personnel for their work.

Jill and I are praying for those who tragically lost their lives as a result of devastating tornadoes that ripped through Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, leveling entire communities and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake,” the president's statement said.

“This comes at a time when communities across the Midwest and South are still reeling from deadly storms and severe weather conditions,” he added.

Federal emergency management officials are conducting damage assessments and “we stand ready to provide support as needed,” Biden said.

(With input from Dalia Faheid, Paradise Afshar, Ashley R. Williams, Elisa Raffa, Joe Sutton, and Samantha Waldenberg of CNN )

Source: CNN Brasil

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