State governors in the South and Midwest announced states of emergency on Friday and Saturday after powerful storms and tornadoes killed at least 22 people and destroyed entire villages. Four people were murdered when a building collapsed in Illinois.
Spokesman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Kevin Sur claimed that three of the deaths occurred when a home fell in Crawford County, and that the fourth was caused by the collapse of the Apollo Theatre’s roof in Belvidere. At least seven states received reports of tornadoes on Friday, with five fatalities reported in Arkansas.
Four of those deaths occurred in the town of Wynne, while the fifth was reported in North Little Rock. State Police Sergeant Matt Ames reported that three individuals were murdered in Indiana on Friday night due to a storm that caused damage to residences and a volunteer fire department near Sullivan, a city located about 95 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
Officials in Madison County, Alabama reported one death and five injuries overnight at a news conference on Saturday. According to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, one person was killed and four were injured in Pontotoc County.
McNairy County, located in southern Tennessee between Nashville and Memphis, had seven fatalities reported by Allen Strickland, director of emergency management. On Friday, a tornado ripped through the Little Rock region and sent at least 50 people to the hospital in Pulaski County, Arkansas, according to a representative for the county.
According to a spokeswoman for Baptist Memorial Health Care, five more people were taken to the hospital after a tornado hit Covington, Tennessee on Friday. There are now inaccessible roads. One person was killed Saturday night in Sussex County, Delaware, when a building fell due to the same storm system, according to the county’s emergency operations center.
After severe weather hit the Southeast last week, killing at least 26 people, these storms hit a week later. Throughout the night, a tornado with maximum winds of over 170 miles per hour raced into Rolling Fork, Mississippi, causing widespread destruction and loss of life.
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‘It Just Came Out Of Nowhere’
Mayor Frank Scott Jr. told CNN on Saturday that “near to 2,600 structures have been impacted” in Little Rock. He estimated that 2,100 people living in the path of the storm had been impacted. The mayor said that entire neighborhoods and commercial businesses were destroyed and that cars were sent flying in all directions.
Scott added, “It’s by the grace of God nobody in Little Rock was killed,” noting that the storm’s timing meant that many people had not yet gone home from work. “Many people were not at their homes. If they were, it would have been a massacre.” The Little Rock area was hit by one of at least a dozen recorded tornadoes in Arkansas.
According to poweroutage.us, as of Saturday afternoon, more than 34,000 residents of the state were still without electricity. William Williams, who identified himself as a worker at a Kroger supermarket in Little Rock and spoke with CNN affiliate KATV, expressed gratitude for his life after a tornado passed nearby on a Friday afternoon.
He sought refuge inside the shop and later emerged to report seeing injured people, among them 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 go outside, and it is crazy. People had blood all over their faces. … I’m just thankful that I’m alive.”
According to Mayor Jennifer Hobbs, the city of Wynne, located about 100 miles east of Little Rock, was “essentially divided in half by damage from east to west” on Friday night.
Ray Sharp’s drone film shows that several homes in Wynne, a town with a population of around 8,000, were entirely crushed into mounds of wood, while other homes had their roofs ripped off, exposing the interiors of homes littered with storm debris. Several trees fell, blocking what looked like residential roadways and causing structural damage.
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