US Storms and Tornadoes leave 18 dead in their wake


As of Saturday, the death toll has risen to 18, and dozens of people have been injured. Tennessee, which has been hit particularly hard by the storms since Friday, has confirmed seven fatalities that are related to the severe weather.

In addition to the seven fatalities in Tennessee, the death toll from the recent storm system has risen to a total of 18, with previous fatalities reported in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, and Illinois. 

The severe weather system, which has included devastating winds and tornadoes, is now moving towards the east coast of the US. Thunderstorms, hail, and strong winds are predicted to continue through Sunday.

On Friday, the storm had sent multiple tornadoes — some of exceptional size and power — sweeping through Arkansas, including in the capital Little Rock, where they killed at least five people, the state’s governor said.

The daylight following the severe storm system has revealed widespread destruction, including damaged homes, overturned cars, toppled power lines, and uprooted trees. 

The governor of the affected state has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the national guard to assist in the recovery efforts.

The governor also spoke with President Joe Biden, who has pledged to expedite federal aid to the impacted areas.

The city of Wynne, in northeastern Arkansas, was “cut in half by damage from east to west,” Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told CNN.

The National Weather Service had also issued tornado warnings for several other states, from as far north as Iowa to the southern state of Mississippi, where a twister last week killed 25 people and caused extensive property damage.

Calamity struck in the Illinois town of Belvidere, outside of Chicago, when severe weather caused the roof and part of the facade of the Apollo Theater to collapse while a heavy-metal band played on stage inside.

TV footage showed emergency personnel carrying out injured concert-goers on stretchers, while video posted on social media showed waist-high rubble on the floor of the concert venue, and a gaping hole in the roof.

Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle reported one death and 28 injuries, including five people hospitalized with serious injuries.

In the neighboring state of Indiana, three people were killed by a storm in Sullivan County, on the border with Illinois, several US media reported, citing local authorities.

Overnight tornadoes also claimed one life in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, and one in Madison County, Alabama, emergency officials reported Saturday.

More than 600,000 homes were without power Saturday, according to the website.

As the storm tracked north-eastward, the highest number of outages on Saturday afternoon were in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Several mid-Atlantic states were under high wind warnings.

“Maximum wind gusts could approach 60 miles (100 kilometers) per hour throughout much of the Appalachians, upper Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic today,” the National Weather System warned.

Tornadoes are common in the United States, especially in the center and south of the country.

President Biden on Friday visited the Mississippi city of Rolling Fork, one of the worst-hit areas in last week’s tornado.

In December 2021, tornadoes killed about 80 people in Kentucky.


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