LITTLE ROCK, The tornadoes that tore through parts of Arkansas and Illinois left at least three people dead and over two dozen injured. In the Little Rock area, one person was killed and over 20 were injured, with some in critical condition. The town of Wynne in northeastern Arkansas was also hit hard, with two confirmed deaths and many homes destroyed. In Illinois, one person died and 28 were injured when a theater roof collapsed during a heavy metal concert in Belvidere.
The severe weather was part of a broader storm system that affected a wide swath of the country, threatening around 85 million people. The storm also caused wind-whipped grass fires in Oklahoma and spawned more confirmed twisters in Iowa.
President Joe Biden toured the aftermath of a deadly tornado that struck in Mississippi one week ago, promising that the government would provide assistance to the area for recovery. Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders activated 100 members of the Arkansas National Guard to help local authorities respond to the damage throughout the state.
The tornadoes in Arkansas first hit neighborhoods in the western part of Little Rock and shredded a small shopping center that included a Kroger grocery store. The tornado then crossed the Arkansas River into North Little Rock and surrounding cities, where widespread damage was reported to homes, businesses, and vehicles. The damage was extensive, and officials were still responding to the situation. The storm left many without power, and roads were full of debris, making it difficult for people to move around.
The situation in Wynne was just as dire, with the town left without power, and many houses destroyed, and trees down on the streets. Many residents were unable to return to their homes, and some roads were impassable. Tornadoes continued to spawn and touch down in the area into the night, leaving a path of destruction behind them. In neighboring Tennessee, the city of Covington was left impassable, with power lines and trees falling on roads when the storm passed through Friday evening. Homes and structures were severely damaged, and some people had to evacuate their homes.
The severe weather caused widespread destruction and loss of life, leaving many communities in the affected areas reeling. However, emergency responders and government agencies are working hard to provide assistance and help those affected by the storm to recover from the damage.