Tornado, storm damage in Arkansas, Illinois, other states: Latest news
At least 11 people were killed as tornadoes and powerful storms that started Friday tore through the South and Midwest, leaving residents to pick up the pieces Saturday as more severe weather loomed.
Dozens more residents were injured, homes and businesses were destroyed, and over 350,000 households remained without power Saturday in the Great Lakes, South and South East. There were dozens of tornadoes reported Friday across Arkansas, Iowa, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin and Mississippi, weather.com reported.
More than 28 million people were under a tornado watch at one point Friday, the National Weather Service said, which declared a rare “high risk” outlook for severe storms in some areas.
PHOTOS SHOW DESTRUCTION:Shredded homes, debris-filled streets, flipped cars
Damage, destruction reports span many states
- Alabama: One woman was killed and three others were injured in Madison County, Alabama, according to WAFF-TV.
- Indiana: An intense storm caused three fatalities in Sullivan County, Indiana, Emergency Management Director Jim Pirtle said early Saturday. The storm destroyed homes, razing full neighborhoods, and some residents were missing in the county seat of Sullivan, about 95 miles southwest of Indianapolis. Sullivan County commissioners signed an emergency declaration early Saturday.
- Mississippi: One person died and four others were injured in northern Mississippi’s Pontotoc County, authorities said. This comes as President Joe Biden on Friday visited the storm-ravaged Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where a storm on March 24 killed at least 21 people.
- Tennessee: Five freight train cars overturned in Marshall county, Tennessee. Dozens of house were destroyed or damaged in central Tennessee and two people were rescued from a collapsed home, authorities said.
- Oklahoma: Wind gusts up to 54 mph also battered Oklahoma City, fanning the flames of several fires that led to widespread evacuations.
- Iowa: At least nine possible tornadoes were spotted across Iowa as storms with hail and heavy winds battered the eastern portion of the state.
FRIDAY WEATHER RECAP:‘Large and destructive tornado’ hits near Little Rock; tornado emergency in Arkansas
‘Chaos, absolute chaos’: Illinois theater roof collapses during concert
A theater roof collapsed Friday evening in Belvidere, Illinois, about 70 miles northwest of Chicago, amid an intense storm, killing one person and injuring 28.
About 260 people were attending a heavy metal concert at the Apollo Theatre when the storm struck, Belvidere Fire Department Chief Shawn Schadle said.
“Chaos, absolute chaos,” said Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody in describing the scene.
As security personnel urged concertgoers to take shelter in the basement, many scrambled to pull people from the rubble when parts of the roof gave in.
“I was like, I’m not going to the basement. There are still people injured,” said concertgoer Hasib Neaz. “I need to get people out. Time is running out. People could die. They could suffocate in there.”
Little Rock, northern Arkansas hit by tornadoes
At least one person was killed and more than two dozen were hurt, some critically, after a tornado hit the Little Rock area, officials said.
Additionally, four people also died in Wynne in northeastern Arkansas, which suffered heavy damage that left people trapped in debris. Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock officials told KATV that 21 people had checked in there with tornado-caused injuries, including five in critical condition.
“It’s heart wrenching seeing Wynne destroyed like that,” said St. Francis County Coroner Miles J Kimble, who is assisting the Cross County Coroner. “The schools, families grieving, people trapped, first responders working, it’s just very difficult in my heart watching their community.”
The Little Rock area tornado first barreled through the western part of the city, demolishing a shopping center before it headed north, leaving widespread damage in its wake. Photos showed torn fences, flipped cars, shredded roofs and a damaged high school.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an emergency declaration Friday.
Severe weather remains in forecast
A similar pattern to the recent storms is expected to set up Tuesday, amplified by even greater heat and humidity, increasing the risk for severe weather, Victor Gensini, associate professor at Northern Illinois University, told USA TODAY.
If you wanted to draw a textbook severe weather configuration, “this would certainly be it,” he said. Between dry conditions to the west, and hot, wet conditions to the east, he expects to see a “pretty broad area of real estate” at risk on Tuesday afternoon and evening.
READ MORE:Bad tornado season in US is getting worse: Here’s what to know.
What to expect this weekend
The same storm system that wreaked havoc Friday will set its sights on New England and the Southeastern coast, said Jake Sojda, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.
The greater threats will be in Pennsylvania and into upstate New York and New England, with damaging winds and severe thunderstorms, he said.
In the southeast, downstate South Carolina and southern Georgia can also expect thunderstorms before the system moves on out by Sunday.
“There’s so much wind energy,” Sojda said. “This storm is very strong. There could be tornadoes though Saturday looks much less severe than Friday.”
He said Sunday “looks like a relatively quiet day across most of the U.S.”
SEVERE WEATHER:Bad tornado season in US is getting worse: Here’s what to know.
HURRICANE SEASON:National Hurricane Center used to give 2-day outlooks. In 2023, it will forecast 7 days out.
US weather watches and warnings
National weather radar
Contributing: Dima Amro and Lucas Finton, Memphis Commercial Appeal; The Associated Press
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