Devastating storms and tornadoes touched down Saturday morning and Friday afternoon, killing at least five people, injuring dozens more, trapping others in their homes, and damaging businesses and critical infrastructure – with the threat of more severe storms expected to hit Saturday afternoon.
More than 50 preliminary tornado reports were made Friday in at least six states, including in Arkansas, where storms killed three people — two in the small town of Wynne and another person in North Little Rock, local officials said.
Two people were killed in an Indiana storm Friday night that damaged homes and damaged a volunteer fire department near Sullivan, a city about 95 miles southwest of Indianapolis, state police said.
At least 50 people were sent to hospitals in Arkansas’ Pulaski County, where a tornado roared through the Little Friday area, county spokeswoman Madeline Roberts said. Five others are hospitalized after a tornado touched down Friday in Covington, Tennessee, according to a spokesperson for Baptist Memorial Health.
Previous information at least 22 tornadoes were reported in Illinois, eight in Iowa, four in Tennessee, five in Wisconsin and two in Mississippi.
At least a dozen tornadoes were reported in Arkansas, including in the Little Rock area. They left the houses in that state almost flat, the roads which had once been covered with roofs and walls.
William Williams, who told Rhoncus eros eros An employee at the Kruger grocery store in Little Rock said he was “thankful to be alive” after the tornado swept through the area while he was working Friday afternoon. He took himself back inside the warehouse, and later went outside to see the injured people, including a woman with a serious leg injury.
“Everything happened in like five seconds. It came-boom,” Williams told KATV. “You could hear a lot of commotion and stuff. … I went outside and it was going crazy. There was blood all over the people. … I’m thankful that I’m alive.”
About 100 miles east of Little Rock, the city of Wynne “has mostly suffered damage from east to west,” Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told CNN Friday evening.
“We’re still in the dining room,” Hobbs said, adding that crews were trying to determine the severity of the damage and any potential injuries.
In northern Illinois, more than 200 people were inside the Apollo Theater in Belvidere for an event when its roof collapsed Friday night, leaving one person dead and dozens injured, the city’s fire chief said. The damage was caused as a line of storms packed 50 mph winds and dumped hail across the area, according to officials and the National Weather Service. It was not immediately clear whether the storm damaged the theater’s roof.
Twenty-eight people were taken to the hospital as a result of the crash, Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said.
Friday came with severe weather A week later the storm darkened the Meridian and killed at least 26 people. The overnight storm, which makes people prone to widespread damage, flattened much of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where it reported maximum winds of 170 mph.
Tornadoes would still happen Southern Indiana, western Ohio and northern Kentucky on Saturday at 5 am ET according to the Weather Prediction Center. The area, which includes the cities of Dayton and Cincinnati, was under a hurricane watch that warned of gusty winds of 70 mph along with large hail.
For Saturday, about 55 million people are under a slight risk of severe weather – a level 2 of 5 – in parts of the Ohio Valley-east, including New York and Philadelphia, and parts of the South; according to the Weather Center’s prediction.
Scattered strong and severe thunderstorms could occur in these areas, as well as hail and a few tornadoes, the media said.
On Friday, dangerous large hail proved to be the case when northern Illinois bombed, tearing and denting the winds of cars, according to a Facebook message from the Fulton County Emergency Services and Disaster Management.
About 78 miles south of there, several businesses “were blown to the side,” Sheriff Jack Campbell told CNN, and up to 40 homes were damaged around Sherman, less than 10 miles north of Springfield.
Nearly 300,000 homes and businesses were blacked out early Saturday across Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas and Tennessee, with about a third of the outages reported in Indiana. Follow the website PowerOutage.us.
In Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency, noting that the state has “no resources to spare” in responding to and recovering from the storm and calling for a state of national alert.