Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois, in the United States, are among the states hit by the climatic phenomenon that leaves at least eight fatalities and dozens injured. The tornadoes also caused power outages, destroyed homes and left some citizens trapped in the rubble.
Overturned vehicles, neighborhoods reduced to ruins and fallen trees are part of the panorama in different states of the South and Midwest of the United States, after the passage of a series of tornadoes.
The authorities explain that a storm system generated the cyclones that killed at least eight people and left dozens of injured, according to figures reported by ‘The Washington Post’.
Arkansas -where authorities report at least four of the deceased- Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota are among the affected states, for More than 60 reports of tornadoes between Friday and the early hours of this Saturday, March 1, according to the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service.
One of the hardest hit cities is Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, where at least 21 residents were taken to hospitals; five of them, in critical condition.
“It got very quiet, then it became very noisy,” said resident Niki Scott, who took refuge in the bathroom and said that when she came out she found that her house was one of the few on her street without being hit by fallen trees.
“Property damage is extensive and we are still responding,” Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott said on Twitter.
A large tornado struck near Little Rock, Arkansas, on Friday afternoon, causing injuries, tearing down trees and destroying homes, according to the National Weather Service, whose meteorologists in the local office were forced to evacuate. https://t.co/dWWrmKqr5x pic.twitter.com/k6b7AOOmRg
—The New York Times (@nytimes) March 31, 2023
For her part, the governor of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, declared a state of emergency and announced that the National Guard was called in to assist local police in rescue efforts as some residents were trapped under the rubble of homes and buildings.
“We will spare no resources to assist in response and rescue efforts for impacted Arkansans,” the official said.
Among the consequences are also massive power outages. Further More than 200,000 homes were left without electricity, PowerOutage.us, which tracks this service throughout the country, indicated in the last few hours.
Indiana and Minnesota report the most power outages, though Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas have also reported outages.
“We Can’t Get Home”
In the town of Wyne, Arkansas, several neighborhoods and at least one school also suffered extensive damage, coroner Miles Kimble and a spokesman for the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management said.
“I’m in a panic trying to get home, but we can’t get home (…) Wynne is so devastated. There are destroyed homes, fallen trees in the streets,” said city councilor Lisa Powell Carter.
Meanwhile, the Covington, Tennessee, police department said the city in western Tennessee was left impassable after power lines and trees felled roads in the storms.
In Belvidere, Illinois, located about 113 kilometers from the city of Chicago, emergency services indicated that in the middle of the strong storm the roof of the Apollo Theater collapsed during a heavy metal concert and in which there were around 260 attendees. . At least one person died and 28 were injured.
The lifeguards who went to the place reported that they also rescued a person who was trapped in an elevator, after the site’s power lines were affected.
In addition, authorities confirmed tornadoes in Iowa and wildfires fanned by high winds in Oklahoma. The storm system threatened a wide swath of the country, home to about 85 million people.
The US Weather Service forecasts more storms
Before Friday, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center had forecast an unusually large series of thunderstorms with the potential to cause strong tornadoes that could travel long distances.
The situation will continue this Saturday. “Scattered strong to severe thunderstorms are expected in parts of the Ohio Valley, northeastern and southeastern US. Wind, hail and a few tornadoes are possible,” the agency explained.
There is also a “threat of strong to damaging winds today and tonight. Wind gusts up to 45 to 65 miles per hour could lead to power outages and severe thunderstorms could increase the risk of damaging winds,” it added.
The country’s Meteorological Service is also forecasting another round of intense storms for next Tuesday, April 4.
Experts anticipate that this type of intense supercell storms (the name given to the large ones, which cause severe weather and can last several hours), become more common, especially in the southern states of the United States, as global warming increases.
With Reuters, AP and local media
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