A violent storm accompanied by strong winds and heavy rain swept across the southern and midwestern parts of the United States on its way east on Saturday, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens. The turbulent weather comes a week after a series of thunderstorms spawned a deadly tornado that swept through Rolling Fork, Mississippi, destroying many of the town’s 400 homes and killing 26 people.
At least 18 people have died as a result Hurricanes and strong storms It battered the southern and mid-eastern United States, destroying many buildings, while the Northeast is bracing for another powerful storm.
Seven people were killed in the southern state of Tennessee, according to local authorities.
“Seven severe storm-related deaths have been recorded in McNairy County,” Tennessee Disaster Management Agency spokeswoman Maggie Henan told AFP.
Devastating hurricanes especially affected Arkansas on Friday, where at least 5 people were killed, according to the governor of the rural southern state, Sarah Huckabee, at a press conference.
Residents of the state capital, Little Rock, woke up Saturday to the sight of overturned cars, huge trees, uprooted telephone poles and destroyed homes.
“We know that a lot of people have been displaced and are looking for shelter,” Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott told reporters.
Lara Farrar, a reporter for a local business newspaper, said she was “shocked” by the extent of the damage in Little Rock.
She added that “the roofs of some houses were completely destroyed,” and published pictures of destroyed homes, partially collapsed walls, and trees on the ground.
“The neighborhood is completely destroyed,” she added, pointing to rubble extending about 500 meters.
As for the town of Wayne, in the northeast of the state, it has become “almost divided by the damage extending from east to west,” according to what Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told CNN.
Sarah Huckabee revealed Saturday that she discussed the situation with President Joe Biden the day after she declared a state of emergency, and about 100 National Guard members were deployed.
Mississippi Disaster Management Services also reported one death and several injuries in Pontotoc County, 200 miles south of Memphis.
An elderly person was killed in the state of Alabama when a tornado hit his home, according to the authorities of the city of Huntsville, near the border with Tennessee.
650,000 homes are without electricity
And in the north of the country, in the small town of Belvedere, west of Chicago, in Illinois, part of the roof of a concert hall collapsed, after a severe storm passed while the audience was watching a show by a metal band, according to local media.
Belvedere Fire Chief Sean Schadl said one person died and 28 were injured, including five who were hospitalized with serious injuries.
Local media reported that more than 20 ambulances had arrived at the site.
Television footage showed injured people being evacuated on stretchers, while photos on social media showed rubble and a large hole in the ceiling.
And in the neighboring state of Indiana (north), 3 people died in a storm in Sullivan County, according to US media, quoting the authorities.
Pictures posted on Twitter showed fallen telephone poles, collapsed homes and rubble on the roads.
Power was cut off at least 650,000 homes Saturday in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, according to the American “Power Outrigger” website.
The National Weather Service also warned of strong winds and strong storms that may hit the northeastern part of the country, especially Ohio, on Saturday.
Hurricanes are a phenomenon that is difficult to predict, and they are frequent in the United States, especially in the center and south of the country.
A week ago, a tornado hit Mississippi, killing 26 people and causing massive property damage. President Joe Biden inspected the site on Friday.
In December 2021, about 80 people were killed, after hurricanes hit Kentucky.