WYNNE, Ark. (AP) – Illinois officials have confirmed three deaths from the storm, bringing the total death toll in the South and Midwest to at least 21.
Crawford County Board Chair Bill Burke said three people were killed and eight others injured after the tornado hit the county around 9:10 pm Friday. Apparently the massacre was in either New Hebron or Nova, which is just west of the Indiana state line. That’s near where three others were killed in Sullivan, Indiana.
HERE IS A FRAGMENT OF THE MESSAGE UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.
WYNNE, Ark. (AP) – Storms that may have dropped dozens of tornadoes have killed at least 18 people in towns and large cities across the South and Midwest, swept across the state capital of Arkansas, crashed rooftop concerts in Illinois and left people stunned. throughout the entire region of Saturn with a target of damage.
Confirmed or suspected storms in at least eight states destroyed homes and businesses, snapped trees, and devastated neighborhoods across the country. The dead included seven in one Tennessee county, four in the small town of Wynne, Arkansas, and three in Sullivan, Indiana.
Other deaths from the storms Friday night into Saturday were reported in Alabama, Illinois and Mississippi, along with one near Little Rock, Arkansas, where the mayor said more than 2,000 buildings were in the path of the tornado.
Shocked residents of Wynne, a community of about 8,000 people 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Memphis, Tennessee, woke up Saturday to find the high school’s roof torn off and its windows blown out. Huge trees lay on the ground, their logs reduced to clouds. Broken walls, windows and roofs filled homes and businesses.
Debris and memories of regular life lay scattered inside the damaged shells of houses and spread over wicker: clothes, blankets, paper coverings, toys, torn furniture, a truck with its windows rolled out.
“I’m sorry that my town was hit so hard,” said Heidi Jenkins, owner of the salon. “Our school is gone, my church is gone. I am sad for all the people who lost their homes.
Recovery was underground, with workers using chain saws to move downed trees and bulldozers to cut material from broken structures. Utility trucks worked to restore power, and volunteers helped.
At least seven people died in McNairy County, Mississippi, in the Mississippi region east of Memphis, said David Leckner, the mayor of Adamsville.
“Most of the damage was done to homes and residential areas,” Leckner said, adding that while it appeared that everyone was safe, crews went door-to-door to make sure they were safe.
In Belvidere, Illinois, some of the 260 people attending a concert at the Apollo Theater pulled heavy metal from the rubble 50 years after part of the roof collapsed; He died when the emergency workers arrived. Officials said 40 other people were injured, two with life-threatening injuries.
“They pulled someone out of the rubble, and I sat with him, and I held his hand, and I (told him), ‘It’s going to be okay.’ I didn’t know much else what to do,” concertgoer Gabrielle Lewellyn told WTVO-TV.
The venue’s Facebook page said the bands to perform were Morbid Angel, Crypt, Bone Relics and The Recall.
The sailors are encouraged, Saturn cleans around the Apollo, pulling back the forklifts hanging loosely from the sides. Business owners picked up sheets of glass and covered the broken windows.
Across and across the street from Apollo stood a mural with a black-and-white layered photograph of school children battling high winds and rain after a violent tornado devastated a particularly rural town on April 21, 1967, killing 24.
Friday’s storms killed three people in Sullivan County, Indiana, near the Illinois line about 95 miles (150 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis.
Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb said at a news conference that the county’s southeast area of about 4,000 is “unusual right now” and that several people were rescued from the rubble overnight. There were reports that as many as 12 people were injured, he said, and search and rescue teams were scouring the injured areas.
“To be honest, I’m really, really shocked, it’s not more than human things,” he said, adding that the recovery “is going to be very long.”
In the Little Rock area, at least one person was killed and more than two dozen were wounded, some critically, authorities said. Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott said 2,100 homes and businesses were in the path of the tornado, but there was no estimate on how much was damaged.
The National Weather Service said the EF3 tornado was a high-end tornado with wind speeds of up to 165 mph (265 kph) and a path as long as 25 miles (40 kilometers).
Masoud Shahed-Ghaznavi was having lunch at home when a tornado roared through the neighborhood, causing him to hide in the laundry room as a sheetrock fell on his head and shattered the windows. When he emerged, the houses were mostly in ruins.
“I see that everything around me is heaven,” recalled Shaed-Ghaznavi. He hardly slept on Friday night.
“When I closed my eyes, I couldn’t sleep, I thought I was here,” he said Saturday outside his home.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to help local responders.
A suspected tornado killed a woman in north Alabama’s Madison County, County Sheriff Mac McCutcheon said. And in Pontotoc County in northern Mississippi, officials confirmed one death and four injuries.
The storm hit just hours after President Joe Biden visited The Mississippi community of Rolling Fork, where tornadoes destroyed parts of the city last week.
Tornadoes also caused damage in eastern Iowa and broke windows on cars and buildings east of Peoria, Illinois.
It could take days to determine the exact number of tornadoes, said Bill Bunting, chief of forecasting operations at the Storm Prediction Center. There were also hundreds of reports of large hail and damaging winds, he said.
“It’s a very active day,” he said. “But that’s not unheard of.”
It lost hundreds of thousands of miles of power due to a storm surge that also brought wildfires to the southern plains and blizzard conditions to the upper Midwest, and left in its wake high winds. The threat of tornadoes and hail remained for the Northeast, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and New York.
More than 530,000 homes and businesses in the affected area were without power as of midday Saturday, over 200,000 of them in Ohio, according to PowerOutage.us.
Blizzard conditions battered parts of Minnesota, Dakota and Wisconsin, cutting power to tens of miles in the Twin Cities area. Parts of Interstate 29 were closed.
Nearly 100 new wildfires were reported in Oklahoma on Friday, according to the state forest service, and firefighters hoped to gain ground on them Saturday. The fire danger was expected to remain through the week.
DeMillo reported from Monte Saxo. Associate writers from around the country contributed to this report, including Harm Venhuizen in Belvidere, Illinois, and Corey Williams in Detroit.