A deadly storm system ripped through the middle of the country on Friday, spawning deadly tornadoes in Arkansas and Indiana, collapsing the roof of a packed concert hall in Illinois and leaving millions under a tornado watch from Texas to Michigan.
In Arkansas, the governor declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon after officials said one person was killed in North Little Rock and two others died in separate tornadoes in Wynne, about 100 miles east.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said at least 30 people were hospitalized and more than 2,000 homes were damaged. Local police said the storm caused extensive damage to businesses and apartments said.
In Wynne, Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told CNN The city was “cut down About half the damage from east to west.” The exact extent of the damage was not immediately clear, and a dispatcher at the police department declined to comment early Saturday. The town has a junior high school. was opened For people looking for shelter and food.
Friday night in northwestern Illinois, one person was killed and 28 hospitalized when the roof collapsed at a theater in Belvidere, with 260 people inside, Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said. He told reporters at the scene. Five people were seriously injured, he said.
Footage posted on social media appeared to show patrons inside the arena Apollo TheatreTrying to find people under the rubble.
One of the bands on the bill, Morbid Angel, He said in a Facebook post The members of the band were still staying at the place. National Weather Service report “Potential hurricane damage” in Belvidere.
In the village of Sherman, about 200 miles to the south, a dozen homes were significantly damaged, said Mayor Trevor J. Gladfelder said by phone Friday night. The storm caused major gas leaks, power outages and downed power poles across the village.
A tornado touched down in Sullivan Country, Ind., about 150 miles east of Sherman, killing two people, according to Sgt. Matt Ames with the Indiana State Police.
“We have a very dangerous situation right now,” he told local news in an earlier interview, adding that the local Veterans of Foreign Wars building was “completely gone.”
Pictures posted on social media by the VFW chapter showed a mangled structure from its roof. “Please pray for our community and be patient as we get through this tragedy,” the post said.
Six patients were hospitalized after a tornado hit the town of Covington, Tenn., Baptist Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Kimberly Alexander said by phone Friday night. On that day FacebookThe Covington Police Department described the city as “unwalkable.”
Tornadoes were also reported in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee. National Weather Service Wisconsin, Iowa and across Mississippi.
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said officials there were on alert because the death toll would rise. “We hope it is not, but given the nature and volatility of the situation, we are certainly preparing for it,” he said at a news conference Friday night.
Mr. Scott, Little Rock’s mayor, said at a news conference Friday night that more than 30 people were hospitalized in the city. He added that many residents have been displaced.
Mr. Scott said in an interview that at least 2,100 homes were destroyed by the hurricane and that it was too early to know how much the damage would cost.
“If not longer, I suspect we’ll be working through the damage for a week,” Mr. Scott said.
In addition to a tornado emergency for parts of Little Rock, forecasters also declared emergencies for nearby Sherwood and Jacksonville, Ark. More than 100,000 customers in Illinois and 65,000 in Arkansas were without power as of Friday night. According to PowerOutage.usIt aggregates data from applications across the country.
Baptist Health Medical Centers in Little Rock and North Little Rock are already treating a total of 21 patients — five of whom are in critical condition — Kara Wade, a spokeswoman, said Friday night. Both hospitals were anticipating a surge of additional patients.
Joshua Cook, a spokesman for CHI St. Vincent Hospital, said the hospital’s emergency department had a “high volume of people with injuries,” but he did not know their severity.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said at least three trauma patients were taken to the hospital.
In the middle-class neighborhood of Indian Hills in North Little Rock, about a dozen homes appeared to be damaged, including that of 95-year-old Mildred Lowe, who said she was nearly crushed when a tree fell through her roof.
Ms. Loy said her carer moved her off the couch and onto the sidewalk, where she climbed on top of her to protect herself. “When he was lying down, we heard booming,” Ms Loy said. “It crashed right where I was sitting.”
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Little Rock had to go to a tornado shelter Friday afternoon as it became clear their office was in the path of the tornado. Desiree Meadows, a meteorologist in Memphis, said the Weather Service’s Memphis office plans to issue warnings and monitor weather on their behalf.
Stephanie Carruthers, manager of Trio’s Restaurant in the Pavilion at the Park Shopping Center in Little Rock, said about 25 employees and customers were safely out of the storm in the kitchen.
“It blew really fast,” Ms Carruthers said. “It really started to rain, so we all ran into the kitchen. I turned around and the front doors exploded.
Officials from fire departments in the Little Rock area said search and rescue teams were on the ground going door-to-door for injured residents.
“It doesn’t look like much at this point, but the situation is still fluid,” said Capt. Dustin Free, spokesman for the North Little Rock Fire Department.
Footage posted on social media a Big hurricane It touches the town of Sigourney, a town of about 2,000 people, about 70 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Other images from the region appeared to show Dilapidated buildings And Overturned cars.
Manny Galvez, who lives in Coralville, about 20 miles south of Cedar Rapids, said he was trapped in his basement just before 5 p.m. “It was terrifying,” Mr. Galvez said in a telephone interview that he was exposed. After about 40 minutes, nearby houses were seen torn apart and overturned trucks.
The storms could affect parts of Mississippi, which was devastated last week by tornadoes that killed at least 26 people.
President Biden visited Rolling Fork, Mississippi, a community hit hard by last week’s tornadoes, on Friday. The tornado killed 13 people and destroyed homes and businesses around Rolling Fork and Sharkey County.
Reporting contributed Robert Chiarito, Amanda Holbuch, Derrick Bryson Taylor, John Keefe, Euan Ward And Tim Wallace