At least 32 people were killed last weekend as a series of tornadoes ripped across the South and Midwest of the United States. Homes were severely damaged, and hundreds of people lost electricity due to the violent storms. Almost 80 tornadoes have been recorded by the National Weather Service since March 31. The states of Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Alabama, and Mississippi are just some of those where fatalities have been reported.
According to official reports, a catastrophic storm system that delivered deadly tornadoes and powerful winds to the south-central and eastern areas of the United States has claimed at least 26 lives. At first count, seven people have lost their lives due to the storm’s effects in Tennessee, one of the states hit hardest since the storm began on Friday. However, the count has since increased to nine, as reported by the Memphis-based news channel WREG.
A Tornado in Tennessee uprooted trees, smashed houses, and tore walls from buildings that were still standing, causing severe havoc.
Janice Pieterick, whose home was destroyed by the tornado in Lewis County, said it was terrible to feel the whole house shudder as the storm ripped through.
Wynne, Arkansas, approximately 100 miles (170km) east of Little Rock, the state capital, was severely damaged by another storm.
The Wynne High School suffered significant damage, including the destruction of some of its buildings. Lisa Worden, a teacher at the school, emphasized the importance of the decision to dismiss students early.
According to the Reuters news agency, a woman expressed her gratitude for the superintendent allowing them to leave at 1:30, which prevented students from being on buses and teachers from staying late during the worst of the storm. This was seen as a blessing from God.
As morning light arrived, it was apparent that many homes had been demolished, cars had been turned over, power lines had been destroyed, and trees had been uprooted.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency in Arkansas and called upon the national guard to assist with recovery efforts.
The mayor of Wynne, Arkansas, Jennifer Hobbs, said the city had been seriously damaged along a line running east to west, effectively dividing the city in two.
Additionally, she mentioned that she had spoken with President Joe Biden, who promised to expedite federal aid.
On Friday, severe weather in Chicago’s Belvidere neighborhood led to the collapse of the Apollo Theater’s roof and part of the exterior as a heavy metal band played inside. Videos posted online showed a hole in the ceiling and damage on the floor, while TV images showed wounded concertgoers being taken out on stretchers by rescue workers. Fire Chief Shawn Schadle of Belvidere, Illinois, reported one death and 28 injuries, with five people hospitalized with critical injuries.
Kevin Sur, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokesperson, reported that a house collapse in Crawford County, southern Illinois, caused three deaths, likely due to a tornado hit.
According to local authorities, three people died in Sullivan County, on the border with Illinois, due to a storm, as reported by various US media outlets.
A statement released on Saturday by the state’s department of natural resources revealed that severe damage caused by storms in Owen County’s state park led to the death of two campers.
On Saturday, authorities reported that overnight tornadoes killed one person in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, and another in Madison County, Alabama. According to poweroutage.us, more than 610,000 homes were dark on Saturday. Tens of thousands of houses still did not have power as of Sunday morning despite the improvement in the situation.
Power outages were worse in Ohio and Pennsylvania on Saturday night and Sunday morning as the storm moved northeast. In Delaware, located in the mid-Atlantic region, a person died due to a “collapsed building” in Sussex County on Saturday evening, as reported by the county’s emergency operations center. Other states in the same area continued to be under high wind warnings. The National Weather System cautioned that wind gusts reaching a maximum of 60 miles (100 kilometers) per hour were expected in the Appalachians, upper Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic regions today.
Tornadoes are frequently observed in the United States, particularly in the central and southern parts of the country.
On Friday, Vice President Biden visited the Mississippi city of Rolling Fork, which was hit hard by the tornado the week before.