(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) Storms that dropped possibly dozens of tornadoes killed at least
18 people in small towns and big cities across the South and
Midwest, tearing a path through the Arkansas capital, collapsing
the roof of a packed concert venue in Illinois, and stunning people
throughout the region Saturday with the damage's scope, trend reports citing
abc 17 .
Confirmed or suspected tornadoes in at least eight states
destroyed homes and businesses, splintered trees, and lay waste to
neighborhoods across a broad swath of 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 that hit 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 a tornado's path.
Stunned residents of Wynne, a community of about 8,000 people 50
miles (80 kilometers) west of Memphis, Tennessee, woke Saturday to
find the high school's roof shredded and its windows blown out.
Huge trees lay on the ground, their stumps reduced to nubs. Broken
walls, windows and roofs pocked homes and businesses.
Debris and memories of regular life lay scattered inside the
damaged shells of homes and strewn on lawns: clothing, insulation,
roofing paper, toys, splintered furniture, a pickup truck with its
“I'm sad that my town has been hit so hard,” said Heidi Jenkins,
a salon owner.“Our school is gone, my church is gone. I'm sad for
all the people who lost their homes.”
Recovery was already underway, with workers using chain saws to
cut fallen trees and bulldozers moving material from shattered
structures. Utility trucks worked to restore power, and volunteers
set out to help.
At least seven people died in Tennessee's McNairy County, east
of Memphis along the Mississippi border, said David Leckner, the
mayor of Adamsville.
“The majority of the damage has been done to homes and
residential areas,” Leckner said, adding that although it appeared
all people had been accounted for, crews were going door to door to
In Belvidere, Illinois, some of the 260 people attending a heavy
metal concert at the Apollo Theatre pulled a 50-year-old man from
the rubble after part of the roof collapsed; he was dead when
emergency workers arrived. Officials said 40 other people were
injured, including two with life-threatening injuries.
“They dragged someone out from the rubble, and I sat with him
and I held his hand and I was (telling him), 'It's going to be OK.'
I didn't really know much else what to do,” concertgoer Gabrielle
Lewellyn told WTVO-TV.
The venue's Facebook page said the bands scheduled to perform
were Morbid Angel, Crypta, Skeletal Remains and Revocation.
Crews worked Saturday to clean up around the Apollo, with
forklifts pulling away loosely hanging bricks. Business owners
picked up shards of glass and covered shattered windows.
Three people died in an apparent tornado in Indiana's Sullivan
County, near the Illinois line about 95 miles (150 kilometers)
southwest of Indianapolis.
Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb said at a news conference that an area
south of the county seat of about 4,000“is essentially
unrecognizable right now” and that several people were rescued from
rubble overnight. There were reports of as many as 12 people
injured, he said, and search-and-rescue teams combed damaged
“Quite frankly, I'm really, really shocked there isn't more as
far as human issues,” he said, adding that recovery“is going to be
a very long process.”
In the Little Rock area, at least one person was killed and more
than two dozen were hurt, some critically, authorities said. Little
Rock Mayor Frank Scott said that 2,100 homes and businesses were in
the tornado's path, but that no assessment had been done on how
many were damaged.
The National Weather Service in Little Rock said the tornado was
a high-end EF3 twister with wind speeds up to 165 mph (265 kph) and
a path as long as 25 miles (40 kilometers).
Joanna McFadden was at a nail salon with two other people when
the tornado struck.
“The only way we knew the tornado was coming, the leaves were
swirling, that's the only way we knew, it looked like it was
standing still,” McFadden said. She and the others took shelter in
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency and
activated the National Guard to help local responders.
A suspected tornado killed a woman in northern Alabama's Madison
County, said county official Mac McCutcheon. And in northern
Mississippi's Pontotoc County, officials confirmed one death and
The storms struck just hours after President Joe Biden visited
the Mississippi community of Rolling Fork, where tornadoes last
week destroyed parts of town.
Tornadoes also caused damage in eastern Iowa, and broke windows
on cars and buildings northeast of Peoria, Illinois.
It could take days to determine the exact number of tornadoes,
said Bill Bunting, chief of forecast operations at the Storm
Prediction Center. There were also hundreds of reports of large
hail and damaging winds, he said.
“That's a quite active day,” he said.“But that's not
Hundreds of thousands lost power because of the sprawling storm
system that also brought wildfires to the southern Plains and
blizzard conditions to the Upper Midwest, and left in its wake high
winds. A threat of tornadoes and hail remained for the Northeast,
including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and New York.
More than 530,000 homes and businesses in the affected area
lacked power at midday Saturday, over 200,000 of them in Ohio,
according to PowerOutage.us.
Blizzard conditions whipped parts of Minnesota, the Dakotas and
Wisconsin, cutting power to tens of thousands in the Twin Cities
area. Parts of Interstate 29 were closed.
Nearly 100 new wildfires were reported Friday in Oklahoma,
according to the state forest service, and firefighters hoped to
gain ground against them Saturday. Fires were expected to remain a
danger through the week.