A deadly series of storms tore through the southern and midwestern regions of the United States over the weekend, leaving at least 21 people dead and dozens of others injured. The storms, which produced confirmed or suspected tornadoes, caused widespread damage to homes, businesses, and schools in at least eight states.
The hardest-hit areas included Wynne, Tennessee, where residents reported entire neighborhoods destroyed, and Little Rock, Arkansas, where a high-end EF3 tornado with wind speeds of up to 165 mph caused significant damage. In the Little Rock area alone, one person was killed and over 50 others were injured, with more than 2,600 buildings in the tornado’s path. Recovery efforts are already underway, but officials warn that the same weather conditions from Friday night are expected to return on Tuesday, raising concerns about further damage and loss of life.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the storms that hit over the weekend were part of a larger weather system that began on Friday and continued into Sunday. The storms produced dozens of tornadoes, with some of the twisters reaching up to half a mile in width. The NWS issued tornado watches and warnings for several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
In Sullivan, Indiana, one person was killed and two others injured when a suspected tornado struck a mobile home park. In Belvidere, Illinois, a 50-year-old man was killed and 40 others were injured when part of the roof of the Apollo Theatre collapsed during a heavy metal concert. Crews are now cleaning up the debris around the theatre, with forklifts pulling away loose bricks and business owners covering shattered windows.
In Tennessee, McNairy County was hit particularly hard, with local officials reporting significant damage to homes and businesses. Schools were also impacted, with some buildings sustaining significant damage. The town’s mayor, Ronnie Brooks, said that crews were working around the clock to clear debris and restore power.
“It’s been a tough few days for our community,” Brooks said. “But we’re a resilient people, and we’ll get through this. We’re grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received from neighboring communities and from across the country.”
In Alabama, authorities are assessing the damage after a tornado touched down in the town of Carbon Hill. The storm damaged several buildings and uprooted trees, but no injuries were reported.
As recovery efforts continue, officials are urging residents to take precautions as the same weather conditions are expected to return on Tuesday. The NWS has issued severe weather warnings for several states, including Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
“We want people to take this seriously,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. “We’re expecting another round of severe weather, and we want everyone to stay safe. Please take shelter if necessary and stay tuned to local news for updates.”
Residents in affected areas are being advised to prepare emergency kits and have a plan in place in case they need to evacuate. The American Red Cross is also providing assistance to those impacted by the storms.
“The Red Cross is working closely with local authorities and emergency responders to ensure that everyone impacted by these storms receives the help they need,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “We urge residents in affected areas to stay safe and to reach out to us if they need assistance.”