|May 30, 2023|
Tornadoes may signal violent start to spring
Another 22 people are dead after a major storm system ripped through several states in the Midwest and the South bringing tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.
Seven of the deaths are in McNairy County in southwestern Tennessee, according to the state's Emergency Management Agency.
Even before Friday's outbreak, there had been more than 300 tornadoes so far, and according to Storm Prediction Center data, it was the third-most-active start to a year on record in the U.S.
Central Arkansas suffered “significant damage” Friday, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, after meteorologists said a tornado touched down in North Little Rock, pummeling buildings and leaving at least three people dead and dozens injured.
State police also confirmed three people were killed in Indiana, and a tornado in Belvidere, Illinois, killed one person and injured 28 others, five of them severely, the city's fire chief said.
Arkansas declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Friday afternoon. At a news conference Friday, Huckabee Sanders said 100 guardsmen had been deployed across the state.
“Praying for all those who were and remain in the path of this storm,” she said in a separate Twitter post, adding that the town of Wynne, roughly 100 miles northeast of Little Rock, had also seen widespread damage.
Wynne Police Chief Richard Dennis told NBC affiliate KAIT of Jonesboro, Ark., that the city of roughly 8,000 suffered “total destruction.”
St. Francis County Coroner Miles Kimble said two people were killed in Wynne. Additional details about their deaths weren't immediately available.
Farther north in Indiana, three people were confirmed dead after a tornado swept through Sullivan County, state police confirmed early Saturday.
There was no indication as to how exactly the individuals died, Sgt. Matt Ames told NBC News, adding that the names of the deceased had not been released.
Several residences had been destroyed and trees had downed onto power lines, he said. He added that no additional injuries had been reported.
Elsewhere in Illinois, Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said approximately 260 people were attending a heavy metal concert at the city's Apollo Theatre when the roof collapsed during a tornado.
“At the time of the collapse, we initiated a large scale response with numerous agencies,” he said, adding, “There were multiple injuries. There was a fatality.”
He said first responders also rescued someone from an elevator and had to grapple with downed power lines outside the theater in the city, which is about 70 miles west of Chicago.
Elsewhere, tornadoes moved through parts of eastern Iowa, with sporadic damage. One tornado veered just west of Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa.
Story Date: April 2, 2023