U.S. tornado death toll rises to 26, with thousands of homes destroyed

U.S. tornado death toll rises to 26, with thousands of homes destroyed

At least 26 people have died by strong tornadoes that have swept through the Midwest and southern U.S., leaving thousands of homes destroyed, tens of thousands of homes without power and even causing the roof of a concert hall to collapse.

The exact number of dead is unknown and. could increase in the coming hours as emergency services in the hardest-hit states scour the streets to assess damage and find survivors, sometimes even going door-to-door.

So far, local authorities have confirmed the death of 26 people: twelve in Tennessee, five in Arkansas, four in Illinois, three in Indiana, one in Alabama, and one more deceased in Mississippi.

The tornadoes, which struck the Midwest and southern U.S. on Friday night, have left in their wake a trail of devastation with trees and power poles ripped out of the ground.as well as destroyed homes that have been turned into piles of rubble, according to images shown on the country’s television stations.

Moment when Matt Laubhan can't contain his excitement as he reports on the Mississippi tornado.

Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, is one of the hardest hit cities and at least 2,600 homes have been damaged, according to a statement from the city council. Another of the hardest-hit towns in Arkansas is Wynne, population 8,000, where high winds shattered the roof and windows of the high school and also damaged homes and businesses.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell, who is coordinating the federal response to the disaster, will tour those two Arkansas towns Sunday to. assess the damageLittle Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. announced on Twitter.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has mobilized 100 members of the National Guard reservist corps to respond to the disaster and has declared the state of emergency in order to put the resources of the state at the service of the search efforts.

In addition, Sanders on Saturday called on U.S. President Joe Biden to declare the events a disaster so that Arkansas can access resources of the federal government.

The governors of Indiana and Kentucky, Eric Holcomb and Andy Beshear, respectively, have also declared a state of emergency to put their state’s resources to work for the rescue and cleanup efforts.

The roof of the building was damaged after the tornado hit.

In northern Illinois, the tornadoes have left a scene of “absolute chaos.” in the words of Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody, reports the Chicago Tribune. Specifically, the roof of a theater where 260 people were at the time attending a heavy metal concert partially collapsed, leaving at least one person dead and 28 injured, according to the Belvidere Fire Department.

Aside from the human and infrastructure damage, the tornadoes have caused this Sunday to continue to without power some 27,000 homes in Arkansas and another 17,000 in Tennessee.two of the most affected states, according to data from the PowerOutage.us website, which monitors this service.

According to the National Weather Service, storms could continue through next week. Especially dangerous could be Tuesday, when thunderstorms with lightning are expected in parts of Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, among other southern and Midwestern states.

Tornadoes Have hit the Midwest and southern part of the country. just hours after Biden last Friday visited the Mississippi town of Rolling Fork, which was devastated last week when a series of strong tornadoes struck the region, leaving 26 dead.

Biden declares state of disaster in Arkansas

Faced with the delicate situation in which Arkansas finds itself, Joe Biden declared this Sunday a state of disaster in the U.S. state. At least four deaths and 50 people hospitalized have been reported in the state, according to state authorities.

This order activates federal assistance to supplement the efforts of state and local recovery “in areas affected by severe storms and tornadoes on March 31, 2023.”

“The president’s action puts federal funds available to affected individuals. in Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski counties,” the White House said in a statement.

Assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, “low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” according to the statement.

Kayleigh Williams