Powerful tornado wreaks havoc in Arkansas, claims two lives

This still from a video provided by Lane Hancock on March 31, 2023, shows a tornado brewing in Little Rock, Arkansas.  — AFP

A powerful tornado advanced through Arkansas capital and surrounding areas on Friday causing rooftops to collapse, damaging cars and debris to turn up on the roadsides also claimed at least two lives and left a dozen others wounded, CBS news reported.

As part of a monster storm system that struck the South and Midwest of the country, people rushed to hide in safe places.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that two people were killed in the northeast Arkansas city of Wynne.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr on Twitter said: “At least 24 people had been hospitalised with storm-related injuries” adding that “officials were not aware of any fatalities…at this time.”

He also said that the damages that occurred to the property were extensive.

A theatre roof in Belvidere, Illinois also collapsed which according to the Fire Department, killed one person and injured 28 when there were 280 people in the building while the roof collapsed.

“My administration is closely monitoring the roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere tonight,” Illinois Governor J B Pritzker said on Twitter.

There were other tornadoes in Iowa threatening millions of people and causing damage to billions of dollars of property.

Little Rock Tornado first damaged the homes in the Western part of the city including a small grocery store moving towards North Little Rock and adjacent cities leaving behind destruction.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock said that they are expecting at least 15 to 20 patients from the tornado while several people have already been brought into the centre.

Aerial footage from media outlets shows collapsed roofs and damaged homes by the Little Rock tornado nearby Benton.

Thousands of people in Illinois and Arkansas were also left without electricity.

The sheriff’s office for Pulaski County said on Twitter that “tornadoes have affected many areas of Pulaski County.”

“Do not stop to survey the damage,” it wrote. “If you are travelling home you may have to take an alternate route.”

The winds with the speed of 60mph in Oklahoma further fuelled fires in the grass and on the other hand, people were asked to immediately evacuate in far northeast Oklahoma City.

More power outages were reported in Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas.

The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Centre had issued the forecast and warned of such unprecedented thunderstorms and the damages they would entail which are expected to become common notably in Southern states of the US.

A week ago, a tornado in Rolling Fork Mississippi killed at least 21 people.

After the destruction by the Rolling Fork tornado, President Biden visited the affected city and pledged government support for rehabilitation.

With predictions of further harsh weather coming in, Governor Kristi of South Dakota ordered the offices to close in parts of the state.

In the same area, weather experts have also predicted a powerful storm of a similar scale next Tuesday saying a least the initial days of April would be tough. 

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