Home » Blog » US Tornadoes: Death Toll Grows as Extreme Storms Ravage Several States
News United States US Weather

US Tornadoes: Death Toll Grows as Extreme Storms Ravage Several States

At least 32 people have been killed after a weekend of devastating tornadoes that tore through the South and Midwest of the United States.

Homes were destroyed and thousands left without power after huge storms caused devastation across several states.

There have been more than 80 reported tornadoes since 31 March, according to the National Weather Service.

States including Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Alabama and Mississippi have all had fatalities.

The death toll is highest in Tennessee, where 15 people were killed after tornadoes swept through multiple counties, local officials said.

Another storm shredded through the Arkansas town of Wynne – a community some 100 miles (170km) east of the state capital, Little Rock.

Wynne’s mayor, Jennifer Hobbs, told CNN that the town was “cut in half by damage from east to west”.

Ashley Macmillan said she, her husband and their children huddled with their dogs in the bathroom as a tornado passed overhead, “praying and saying goodbye to each other, because we thought we were dead”.

A falling tree seriously damaged their home, but they were unhurt.

“We could feel the house shaking, we could hear loud noises, dishes rattling. And then it just got calm,” Ms Macmillan told AP news agency.

Wynne High School was badly damaged, with some buildings torn to pieces. One of its teachers, Lisa Worden, said a decision to send pupils home early was critical.

“We got out at 1:30, which was such a God blessing from our superintendent, because otherwise kids would have been on busses and teachers would have still been here. And so that would have been even more devastating,” she told Reuters news agency.

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency in the state of Arkansas on Friday, with the national guard activated to help with recovery efforts.

An aerial view shows the destroyed Wynne High School in the aftermath of a tornado, after a monster storm system tore through the South and Midwest on Friday, in Wynne, Arkansas, U.S. April 1, 2023
Image caption,Several buildings of Wynne High School were torn apart by the tornado

She said she had spoken to President Joe Biden about the situation, who promised federal aid.

On Sunday, President Biden wrote in a tweet that his administration is ready to assist several states with recovery efforts following the devastating storms.

“Jill and I are praying for everyone impacted,” he added.

The state of Illinois was also hit by violent storms on Friday that led to the collapse of a theatre roof at a packed heavy metal gig in Belvidere, leading to one death and 28 injuries.

Hundreds of thousands of people were without power across several states over the weekend.

Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania are the worst affected, according to the US PowerOutage website.

In a bulletin, the Storm Prediction Center warned some of the projected tornadoes could track across the ground for long distances.

nvestigators look over the Apollo Theater following a tornado in Belvidere, Illinois
Image caption,Investigators at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, Illinois, after the monster storm caused the ceiling to collapse

The deadly tornadoes come a week after a rare, long-track twister killed 26 people in Mississippi.

The Mississippi tornado last week travelled 59 miles (94km) and lasted about an hour and 10 minutes – an unusually long period of time for a storm to sustain itself. It damaged about 2,000 homes, officials said.

President Biden visited the state on Friday to pay his condolences.

Source : BBC