Severe storms battered the central United States on Friday, with tornadoes killing three people in southern Arkansas, authorities say, while in the north part of a roof collapsed on crowds during of a concert, according to media reports.
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In Arkansas, two people died in the small town of Wynne, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a press conference, which declared a state of emergency and deployed a hundred national guards.
Separately, Pulaski County, which includes Arkansas’ hard-hit capital Little Rock, confirmed a third death to AFP.
“About 30 people were taken to hospitals” in the city, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott told reporters.
In the wake of the tornado, overturned cars, huge uprooted trees, telephone poles broken in two… Lara Farrar, journalist for a local economic publication, told AFP by telephone that she was “totally shocked” visiting the damage near her home in Little Rock.
“Some buildings have had their roofs completely blown off,” she testifies, sharing images of destroyed houses, the walls partially torn down, the trees on the ground.
“The neighborhood was frankly ruined, completely destroyed,” she adds, referring to a front of devastation less than 500 meters wide, with “very little damage” outside.
In the north of the country, in the small town of Belvidere, west of Chicago in the State of Illinois, part of the roof of a concert hall collapsed after the passage of a storm, as the crowd watched a performance by a heavy metal band, according to local media.
Many ambulances were on site, according to the local press.
Around 2:40 a.m. GMT on Saturday, some 110,000 people were without power in Illinois, 74,000 in Arkansas and 27,000 in Iowa, according to the specialized site PowerOutage.us.
Tornadoes, a meteorological phenomenon as impressive as they are difficult to predict, are common in the United States, especially in the center and south of the country.
A week ago, a tornado swept through Mississippi, killing 25 people and causing immense property damage. President Joe Biden visited the site on Friday.
As of December 2021, around 80 people had lost their lives after tornadoes hit Kentucky.