Tornadoes, hurricanes in the US kill 10 people, destroy homes
Little Rock, Ark. –
The relentless tornadoes that ripped through parts of the South and Midwest have killed at least 10 people, destroyed homes and shopping malls, and collapsed the roof of a theater during a heavy metal concert in Illinois.
Emergency responders across the region counted the death toll and surveyed the damage Saturday morning after the tornado made landfall at night, part of a widespread storm system that also sparked wildfires in the south. Plains and blizzard conditions to the Upper Midwest.
The dead included four people in the small town of Wynne, Arkansas, Cross County Coroner Eli Long told KAIT-TV. Other deaths have been reported in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana and the Little Rock area.
Wynne City Councilmember Lisa Powell Carter said the town, about 50 miles (80 km) west of Memphis, Tennessee, had no electricity and roads littered with rubble.
“I’m panicking trying to get home, but we can’t get home,” she said Friday night. “Wynne has been destroyed. …There are destroyed houses, fallen trees in the streets.”
The storms also killed three people in Sullivan County, Indiana, Emergency Management Director Jim Pirtle said in an email. Several residents went missing in the county seat of Sullivan, near the Illinois border about 150 kilometers southwest of Indianapolis.
Authorities said at least one person was killed and more than two dozen others were injured, some seriously, in the Little Rock area.
In Belvidere, Illinois, the roof of the Apollo Theater collapsed in a tornado, leaving one person dead and 28 injured, five seriously. Police said the calls started coming from the theater, about 110 kilometers northwest of Chicago, shortly before 8 p.m. The venue’s Facebook page says the bands scheduled to perform are Morbid Angel, Crypta, Skeletal Remains and Revocation.
Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said 260 people were at the site. First responders also rescued someone from an elevator and had to deal with a downed power line outside the theater.
Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody described the scene after the collapse as “chaos, absolute chaos”.
Gabrielle Lewellyn had just entered the theater when part of the ceiling collapsed.
“I was there for a minute before it fell,” she told WTVO-TV. “The winds, when I walked to the building, it went from 0 to 1000 within five seconds.”
Some people rushed to lift the collapsed ceiling and pull people out of the rubble, said Lewellyn, who was not injured.
“They pulled a man out of the wreckage and I sat with him, I held his hand and I (told him) ‘It’s going to be fine.’ I really don’t know what else to do.”
A tornado also killed a woman and severely injured three others in Madison County, Alabama, emergency services officer Don Webster told WAFF-TV.
The first Little Rock tornado tore through residential areas west of the capital, Arkansas, and tore through a small shopping center, including a Kroger grocery store. It then crossed the Arkansas River into North Little Rock and surrounding cities, where homes, businesses and vehicles suffered extensive damage.
Little Rock resident Niki Scott hid in the bathroom after her husband called to warn her of a tornado. She can hear glass breaking and comes out to find that her house is one of the few houses on her street that doesn’t have a tree on it.
“Just like everyone says. It was really quiet, then it got really loud,” Scott said afterward, as the chainsaw roared and the sirens sounded.
In the evening, officials in Pulaski County announced a confirmed death in North Little Rock.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders mobilized 100 members of the National Guard to help local governments respond across the state.
Unrelenting tornadoes continued to hit the area during the night.
The police department in Covington, Tennessee, said on Facebook that the western Tennessee city was impassable after power lines and trees fell on the road as the storm passed Friday night. Authorities in Tipton County, north of Memphis, said a tornado appeared to have hit near the middle school in Covington and other locations in the rural county.
Tipton County Sheriff Shannon Beasley said on Facebook that homes and structures were severely damaged.
The tornado also caused sporadic damage in eastern Iowa. One turns just west of Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa. Video from KCRG-TV shows power poles and roofs toppled, ripping apart an apartment building in the suburb of Coralville and significantly damaging Hills homes.
According to poweroutage.us, nearly 90,000 customers in Arkansas lost power. Power outages were also reported in Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas.
In Illinois, Ben Wagner, radar executive director for the Woodford County Emergency Management Agency, said hail broke windows of cars and buildings in the Roanoke area, northeast of Peoria. More than 109,000 customers were without power in the state as of Friday night.
There have been multiple confirmed tornadoes in Iowa, wind-driven grass fires in Oklahoma and blizzard conditions in the Upper Midwest as the storm system threatens large swaths of the country, home to some 85 million people. People.
Fire crews battled several fires near El Dorado, Kansas, and several residents were told to evacuate, including about 250 elementary school students who were transferred to a high school.
Sainz reports from Memphis, Tennessee. Associated Press writers around the country contributed to this report.