Tornadoes leave 18 dead in US
Washington, Apr 1 (EFE).- At least 18 people were killed as powerful tornadoes swept across the midwestern and southern United States late Friday and early Saturday.
The National Weather Service said that 57 tornadoes were spotted across eight states extending from Wisconsin in the upper Midwest to Alabama in the South.
Authorities cautioned that the death toll could rise as first responders continue surveying the worst-affected areas, in some cases going house-to-house to verify the condition of the occupants.
Seven people were confirmed dead in Tennessee and five in neighboring Arkansas, while officials in Indiana said that their state suffered three fatalities.
The states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Illinois each reported one death in connection with the storms.
President Joe Biden spoke Saturday with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Deanne Criswell, who is coordinating Washington’s response.
The president likewise reached out to Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and to the mayors of the state’s two hardest-hit cities, Little Rock and Wynne, the White House said in a statement.
Some 2,000 homes were damaged in Little Rock, the state capital, an at least 30 residents suffered injuries requiring hospitalization, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said.
In Belvidere, Illinois, about 70 mi (112 km) northwest of Chicago, one person was killed and dozens of others injured when the roof of a theater in the path of a suspected tornado collapsed during a heavy metal concert in front of some 260 people.
“Chaos, absolute chaos,” was how Belvidere police chief Shane Woody described the scene at the century-old Apollo Theater in comments to the Chicago Tribune.
One man was pronounced dead on the scene and two were taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, Boone County emergency management director Dan Zaccard said.
Nearly 100,000 homes in Tennessee and Arkansas were without electricity Saturday, according to the PowerOutage.us website.
This latest round of storms followed Biden’s visit Friday to Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where tornados left 26 people dead last week. EFE