Severe storms cause widespread damage in central US

Over 45 tornadoes touch down across four US states with stronger storms expected in the next two days.

    Over 45 tornadoes have been reported in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska since Friday [File: AFP]
    Over 45 tornadoes have been reported in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska since Friday [File: AFP]

    Severe storms have been hammering the central United States as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, a strong contrast of air masses and instability from upper level impulses keep thunderstorms forming throughout the weekend.

    Over 45 tornadoes have been reported in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska since Friday. A few of the bigger communities reporting damage from tornadoes were San Angelo and Abilene in Texas, Lawton in Oklahoma and Dodge City in Kansas.

    The tornadoes were marked by massive storms, strong winds and large hail and heavy rains.

    Wind speeds as high as 138km an hour were measured in Emporia, Kansas, while hail over 7.5cm fell in Sedgwick, Colorado and along the border of Kansas and Nebraska.

    Strong winds brought down trees across many communities, leaving tens of thousands without power.

    When storms passed through Dallas, Texas on Saturday morning, over 70mm of rain fell within hours. Streets and highways were shut down due to waterlogging in underpasses and lower lying areas, bringing parts of the city to a standstill.

    The threat of severe storms will ease across the Plains on Sunday as many of the storms will move into the Great Lakes and the northeast US.

    On Monday, there is a renewed risk of even stronger storms generating over Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, likely in the same areas that saw the recent threats.

    The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center issued a "moderate" risk for those states, just one category lower than the highest risk possible. The threat of storms will continue until Tuesday morning.

    May is typically the stormiest month of the year in terms of severe weather with an average of 276 tornadoes across the US.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies