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At least 26 Dead After Recent Tornadoes Rake US Midwest and South

by Ethan Kim
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At least 26 people are dead after powerful storms with many tornadoes brought destruction to the southern and midwestern parts of the United States. The Arkansas capital was damaged, and a concert venue in Illinois had its roof collapse due to the tragedy. Sunday left many shocked from all the devastation they witnessed.

Bad storms with a lot of wind blew across many parts of the United States. The storms caused big damage, destroying buildings and uprooting trees. Nine people in Tennessee, four in Arkansas, three in Indiana, and four in Illinois tragically lost their lives because of these storms.

Lots of people died and lots of buildings were destroyed in Alabama, Mississippi, and near Little Rock, Arkansas during the storms that happened on Friday night and Saturday. In Little Rock alone, city officials reported over 2,600 buildings being damaged by one tornado.

Residents of Wynne, a town in Tennessee containing 8,000 people, were shocked to see their high school on Saturday morning. A massive storm had ripped the roof off the building and destroyed almost all of the windows. Outside, enormous trees were knocked down, leaving nothing but small stubs behind them. Houses and businesses were clearly damaged; with broken walls, shattered windows and missing roofs visible from far away. Debris was everywhere; clothing mixed with insulation material lying on lawns as well as smashed furniture parts nearby along with a pickup truck without any single window left unbroken.

Ashley Macmillan and her family, including their dogs, got really scared when a tornado passed by. They held each other tight in the small bathroom while they said their goodbyes as they thought they were going to die. But luckily, no one was hurt and only the house sustained some serious damage because of a falling tree. Ashley explained that she could feel the house shaking, hear dishes rattling and loud noises right before it all calmed down.

After the storm, people were trying hard to clear out the destruction. People with chainsaws and bulldozers were removing fallen trees and other rubble while power was being restored. Unfortunately, 9 people lost their lives in McNairy County located near Memphis. Sadly, most of the damage was done to houses and residential areas according to Mayor David Leckner of Adamsville.

Gov. Bill Lee recently drove to a certain county to survey the damage caused by a severe storm and help out those affected. He labelled this week as the “hardest” week he’s been through as governor, due to recent tragic events such as a deadly school shooting in Nashville that took away 6 lives including someone very close to his wife, Maria– whom they attended the funeral of earlier on that day.

Lee said it was very sad what had happened in their area, but luckily the community has come together to help one another. Jeffrey Day called his daughter after seeing on the news that a storm had hit their town of Adamsville. When she answered the phone, she was screaming and hiding with her 2-year-old son in a closet while passed over the storm.

Day began to cry, saying “My daughter kept asking me, ‘What do I do now?’ and I had no idea what to answer.” After the storm, his child crawled from their destroyed house, then drove to a nearby family member. On Saturday night, there were still baby clothes lying around the site.

In Memphis, police revealed that three people died because of the stormy weather: two children and an adult whose home was knocked down by a falling tree.

Officials in Tennessee are saying that tonight’s weather will be similar to what happened on Friday.

In Belvidere, Illinois, part of the roof at the Apollo Theatre fell down when 260 people were attending a heavy metal concert. A 50-year-old man was rescued from under the rubble.

Gabrielle Lewellyn, who was at the concert, said to WTVO-TV: “I sat with him and held his hand and told him it would be alright.”

When ambulance arrived on the scene, the man was already dead. 40 other people were hurt; 2 of them seriously. On Saturday, workers used forklifts to move away fallen bricks and business owners swept away glass shards from shattered windows. In Crawford County, Illinois 3 people lost their lives and 8 more were injured when a tornado hit the area near New Hebron.

Sheriff Bill Rutan mentioned that around 60 to 100 families had to leave their homes because of a tornado. He added that some people were stuck in the basement when their house collapsed, thankfully they had an escape route with help from emergency crews. This was also close to where 3 people passed away in Sullivan County, Indiana which is about 150 kilometres (95 miles) from Indianapolis.

Mayor Clint Lamb of Sullivan said in a press conference that the area south of his county has been wrecked so terribly that it looks completely different now. Some people needed to be saved from the disaster, and around 12 people were injured in it. He also noted that he was surprised there weren’t more casualties since the recovery process will take a long time.

In Little Rock, one person lost their life and over 50 had gotten hurt, some even very badly.

The National Weather Service reported that the tornado was really strong with winds up to 165 mph and it affected an area of 25 miles. Masoud Shahed-Ghaznavi was having lunch at his home when the wind came through, making him hide inside a laundry room as things nearby were destroyed. When he looked outside after, his house was practically gone. He said it felt like he was surrounded by nothing but sky and he couldn’t sleep well on Friday night because of it.

The Governor of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, declared an emergency and asked the National Guard for help. She also asked President Joe Biden to provide resources for recovery efforts. When talking about this situation, a person said that he couldn’t sleep when he closed his eyes as if he was in this emergency situation.

Officials told us that in northern Alabama’s Madison County, a woman was killed by an assumed tornado. Similarly, in northern Mississippi’s Pontotoc County, sadly one person died and four were injured due to the same weather phenomenon. Tornadoes also caused destruction in eastern Iowa and smashed windows near Peoria, Illinois. This all happened just few hours after President Biden had visited Rolling Fork, Mississippi where tornadoes destroyed some parts of the town last week.

It could take days to figure out exactly how many tornadoes there were in the last event, said Bill Bunting from the Storm Prediction Center. Along with that, there were lots of reports of large hailstones and strong gusts of wind too. He commented that it was a really active day but nothing new or special.

At midday Saturday, more than half a million homes and businesses did not have power; most of them were located in Ohio, according to PowerOutage.us.

A really powerful storm system caused very strong winds that caused fires in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, 32 people were hurt, and 40 houses were destroyed. It also brought blizzard conditions to the Upper Midwest, and a possibility of tornadoes and hail in parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

A reporter in Little Rock sent out some news, and people all over the country, including Adamsville in Tennessee, Belvidere in Illinois, and Detroit shared information too.

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