11 dead; Roof collapse in the theater
Residents in the South and Midwest picked up the pieces Saturday after violent tornadoes and storms devastated several states, killing at least 11 people, injuring dozens and destroying homes and businesses.
According to Weather.com, there were at least 40 reports of tornadoes in Arkansas, Iowa, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin and Mississippi on Friday. And more than 28 million people were under tornado watch at one point Friday, said the National Weather Service, which declared a Level 5 outlook at “high risk” for severe storms in some areas.
More than 200,000 homes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia were without power as of Saturday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
Reports of destruction span many states
- Arkansas: At least one person was killed and more than two dozen were injured, some seriously, in the Little Rock area, officials said. Four people died in Wynne, northeast Arkansas, which suffered severe damage that left people trapped in rubble. Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock officials told KATV that 21 people with tornado-related injuries checked in there, including five in critical condition
- Alabama: One woman was killed and three others injured in Madison County, Alabama, according to WAFF-TV.
- Indiana: A violent storm has claimed three lives in Sullivan County, Indiana, Emergency Management Director Jim Pirtle said early Saturday. The storm destroyed homes, destroyed entire neighborhoods and left some residents missing in the county seat of Sullivan, about 95 miles southwest of Indianapolis. Sullivan County commissioners signed an emergency declaration early Saturday.
- Mississippi: One person died and four others were injured in Pontotoc County, in northern Mississippi, authorities said. This comes as President Joe Biden on Friday visited storm-devastated Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where a March 24 storm killed at least 21 people.
- Tennessee: Five train cars overturned in Marshall County, Tennessee. Dozens of homes were destroyed or damaged in central Tennessee and two people were rescued from a collapsed home, authorities said.
- Oklahoma: Wind gusts up to 54 miles per hour also hit Oklahoma City, fanning the blazes of multiple fires that prompted widespread evacuations.
WEATHER OVERVIEW FRIDAY:“Large and Destructive Tornado” Strikes Near Little Rock; Tornado Emergency in Arkansas
‘Chaos, absolute chaos’: Illinois theater roof collapses during concert
A theater roof collapsed Friday night in Belvidere, Illinois, about 70 miles northwest of Chicago amid a violent storm, killing one person and injuring 28.
About 260 people were attending a heavy metal concert at the Apollo Theater when the storm hit, said Shawn Schadle, Belvidere fire chief.
“Chaos, absolute chaos,” Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody described the scene.
Concert-goers tried to pull people out of the rubble when sections of the roof gave way, Gabrielle Lewellyn said. “I was there a minute before the collapse,” she told WTVO-TV. “As I approached the building, the wind went from zero to a thousand in five seconds.”
Severe weather remains in the forecast
A similar pattern to recent storms is expected to occur Tuesday, compounded by even greater heat and humidity, increasing the risk of severe weather, Victor Gensini, an associate professor at Northern Illinois University, told USA TODAY.
If you wanted to draw a textbook severe weather configuration, “it certainly would,” he said. Between dry conditions in the west and hot, wet conditions in the east, he expects a “fairly broad area of property” to be at risk Tuesday afternoon and evening.
CONTINUE READING:America’s Bad Tornado Season Is Getting Worse: Here’s What You Should Know.
What to expect this weekend
The same storm system that wreaked havoc on Friday will target New England and the Southeast Coast, said AccuWeather weather forecaster Jake Sojda.
The bigger threats will be in Pennsylvania and upstate New York and New England with damaging winds and severe thunderstorms, he said.
Thunderstorms can also be expected in the southeastern state of South Carolina and southern Georgia before the system moves on through Sunday.
“There is so much wind energy,” Sojda said. “This storm is very strong. There could be tornadoes although Saturday looks much less violent than Friday.”
He said Sunday “looks like a relatively calm day in most parts of the US”
STORM:America’s Bad Tornado Season Is Getting Worse: Here’s What You Should Know.
HURRICANE SEASON:The National Hurricane Center used to issue two-day forecasts. In 2023 it will predict 7 days.
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Contribution: The Associated Press