A devastating tornado swept through rural Bollinger County in southeastern Missouri early Wednesday morning, causing multiple fatalities and injuries, as well as extensive damage, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The twister struck between 3:30 and 4 a.m., and rescue operations involving multiple agencies are currently underway. Crews are using chainsaws to clear trees and debris to access homes and affected areas. The full extent of the damage and the number of casualties and injuries remain unknown at this time.
Meanwhile, a tornado watch has been issued for more than 40 million people in the United States, including those in major cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Memphis. Tornado warnings have already been issued for areas in Arkansas and Missouri.
Rescue crews are working diligently to access homes that have been blocked by debris, using chainsaws to clear trees and brush. Meanwhile, a tornado watch is in effect for more than 40 million people across the United States, including those in Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Memphis, and other areas. Tornado warnings have already been issued in Arkansas and Missouri, and authorities are urging residents in affected areas to take all necessary precautions and stay alert.
Severe weather conditions have persisted for several days, with dozens of tornadoes reported across 11 states over the weekend, resulting in at least 32 fatalities. On Tuesday, more tornadoes were confirmed in Illinois, while severe thunderstorms hit Iowa and Wisconsin. Wind speeds of up to 80 mph and baseball-sized hail were reported in northern Illinois.
The storms are the result of a combination of an area of low pressure and strong southerly winds, with dry air from the West meeting warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. These conditions make the U.S. highly susceptible to severe weather. Schools in Little Rock canceled classes for Wednesday due to the expected passing of the storms during the morning rush hour.
Authorities are warning residents in affected areas to stay indoors and take cover if necessary. They also urge residents to have emergency kits prepared, including food, water, and medical supplies, in case of power outages or other storm-related issues.
The search and rescue operation in Bollinger County is ongoing, and authorities are working tirelessly to assess the full extent of the damage caused by the tornado. More updates are expected to be released as information becomes available.