At least 20 people were killed in a powerful storm and tornadoes outbreak which swept across the US South and Midwest on Friday into early Saturday, with the death toll still rising.
According to local officials, more than 50 preliminary tornado reports were recorded on Friday in at least seven states, while power outages affected hundreds of thousands of customers, per poweroutage.us.
Seven tornadoes were confirmed across central Indiana alone on Friday night.
Horrific #tornado damage in Sullivan, Indiana #INwx pic.twitter.com/IQza9ICBXw
— Aaron Rigsby (@AaronRigsbyOSC) April 1, 2023
Storm-related casualties were reported in Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Dusty #tornado just crossed by us near Lexa, Arkansas. #arwx pic.twitter.com/iPmDuauPJt
— Frankie Shepherd (@wx_Frankie) April 1, 2023
“That rain hit our house coming in sideways. It slapped the house so hard that it woke me up, rain flying thru the window halfway across the room. Lightning and thunder were massive,” wrote Twitter user Renee Zello, a resident of Georgia.
Here's the #tornado-warned storm hitting us at 6:11 PM CT in Davenport. pic.twitter.com/4L0FdMqx6j
— Mike Seidel (@mikeseidel) March 31, 2023
Footage from affected areas showed the devastating effect of the extreme weather and the extend of material damage; destroyed homes, shredded buildings and piled-up vehicles.
BREAKING: At least 19 dead in Mississippi tornado, storms: US media reports
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) March 25, 2023
Highways were closed in the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes and response teams were working on removing debris.
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Service said that an active period of severe weather was expected to continue into next week.
Next Tuesday, April 4, in particular, “is of concern given the potential for widespread (some significant) severe weather in the Mid-Mississippi Valley vicinity”, according to the forecast.
Arkansas declares state of emergency after storm and tornadoes
Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency in response to the “widespread damage” caused by the deadly storm.
I’ve activated the Arkansas National Guard. They will be assisting Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement around the state.
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) March 31, 2023
“Arkansans are tough. Arkansans are resilient. I spoke with those who embody the strong, determined spirit of Arkansas today. Together, we will recover and we will rebuild even stronger than before,” the governor posted on Twitter after visiting the affected areas.
Red Cross teams were also on the ground, providing shelter and conducting damage assessments.
The World Central Kitchen charity supported the efforts by delivering fresh meals to first responders who were getting people to safety and clearing debris.
Death toll rises in Tennessee
Some of the latest deaths were confirmed in McNairy county, Tennessee, where nine people were killed in the storms, as confirmed on Saturday evening by Allen Strickland, director of the local Emergency Management Agency.
Four of these nine deaths were individuals in a single collapsed structure in Rose Creek, according to McNairy County Mayor Larry Smith.
McNairy county also declared a State of Emergency, as more than seventy houses were completely destroyed and 35-40% of the county experienced damage, Smith added.
See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Greekreporter.com. Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!