Status: 04/01/2023 2:44 p.m
Destroyed houses, overturned cars, uprooted trees: A series of tornadoes caused major damage in several US states. There are dead and many injured – and the next storm center is already brewing.
A massive storm system in the southern and midwestern United States unleashed deadly tornadoes on Friday, killing at least seven people. In addition, there were dozens of injuries, reported US media, citing the police and rescue services.
According to the weather service, the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Tennessee were particularly affected. Around half a million households were without power, at least temporarily, according to data from poweroutage.us. Homes and shopping centers were destroyed, vehicles overturned and trees uprooted.
A theater roof collapsed in Illinois
In the small town of Belvidere, Illinois, the roof of a theater partially collapsed during a concert. A person died. According to the fire department, five people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, 18 with moderate injuries and five with minor injuries
The police said 260 people were in the theater. Police Chief Shane Woody described the situation as “absolute chaos”. At the time of the collapse, according to the authorities, a storm was raging with gusts of up to 145 kilometers per hour.
Arkansas mobilizes National Guard
Three people were killed in the storm in Sullivan County, Indiana, local disaster management director Jim Pirtle told the AP news agency. Homes were damaged and several people were missing. “It hit us hard,” said emergency services coordinator Jim Pirtle.
People continue to be trapped in debris in the town of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Hours earlier, a tornado hit the town of Little Rock and the surrounding area, Arkansas. There was one dead, the media reported, citing the authorities. At least 50 people have been taken to hospitals, a spokeswoman for Pulaski County told CNN. Images from local television stations showed uprooted trees, overturned vehicles and torn roofs.
Two more fatalities were reported from the village of Wynne, around 150 kilometers away. Homes were destroyed and people trapped in rubble. City Council Member Lisa Powell said, “Wynne is shattered.” Nearly 90,000 Arkansas homes were cut off from power, the observatory poweroutage.us further reported. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency and mobilized 100 National Guardsmen to help with rescue and clean-up efforts.
Debris and destroyed homes remain after the tornado in Coralville, Iowa.
Next warning from the National Weather Service
Confirmed tornadoes were also reported from Iowa, while the wind fueled grass fires in Oklahoma. The storm system threatens an area of the southern and midwestern United States that is home to 85 million people.
The National Weather Service’s storm center said such “intense supercell thunderstorms” are likely to become more frequent, particularly in the southern United States, “while world temperatures are rising.” The next major storm center was already predicted for next Tuesday for the same area.