A Significant Tornado Outbreak Sweeps through South and Midwest
‘Catastrophic’ tornado moves through Little Rock, Arkansas area a week after monster twister hits Mississippi.
A significant tornado outbreak has swept through the South and Midwest, and included a large twister that struck near Little Rock, AR, injuring at least two dozen people.
The tornado, which prompted the Arkansas governor to declare a state of emergency, was part of a complex and dangerous storm system that began hitting the Upper Midwest and South, forecasters said. Tornado watches were in effect for parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.
Images from Little Rock showed debris and damage to homes from the tornado, which KATV, a local TV station, described as “catastrophic,” saying it expected widespread damage. In addition to the tornado emergency for parts of Little Rock, forecasters also declared an emergency for parts of nearby Sherwood and Jacksonville, Ark. More than 90,000 customers were without power in Arkansas as of Friday evening, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates data from utilities across the country.
Frank Scott Jr., the mayor of Little Rock, said that at least 24 people had been hospitalized, but that the city was not aware of any fatalities. “Property damage is extensive and we are still responding,” Mr. Scott said on Twitter on Friday evening.
There are reports several people caught up in the Arkansas tornado are in critical condition.
On Friday evening, a local area hospital reported treating at least 21 patients with 5 in critical condition. All had injuries from the tornado that touched down in the Little Rock area.
The tornado splintering homes, overturned vehicles and tossed trees and debris onto roads as people raced for shelter.
A man, who appeared unaware of the vortex, was filmed standing on the roof of another building as the powerful tornado – which reportedly reached level 3 or ‘mass casualty’ strength – travelled towards him.
Another video in the wake of the massive system revealed debris scattered in the streets of Little Rock, which is just three-hours north west of Rolling Fork, where deadly storms hit last week.
There were two more confirmed twisters in Iowa, damaging hail fell in Illinois and wind-whipped grass fires blazed in Oklahoma, part of a massive storm system threatening a broad swath of the country that is home to some 85 million people in the South and Midwest.
wife took this from baptist hospital in LR #Tornado #littlerock #Arkansas pic.twitter.com/VqskSxjxGE
— Jesse Forrester (@Jwforr) March 31, 2023
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has now declared a state of emergency, indicating there was “significant damage” in the central part of the state.
“Praying for all those who were and remain in the path of this storm,” she wrote on Twitter. “Arkansans must continue to stay weather aware as storms are continuing to move through.”
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced that he was requesting assistance from the National Guard.
“Please stay off the roads and away from the affected areas to allow emergency responders to work,” Scott tweeted.
More than 350,000 people were at risk from what the National Weather Service called a “confirmed large and destructive tornado.”
Prayers for the 28 million people impacted the most by this latest spate of storms.
With the newly-issued Tornado Watch, now more than 28 million people in a Tornado Watch.
Find and follow your local NWS office for the latest at https://t.co/GWrG0hTRHN https://t.co/YkA9JobMwH pic.twitter.com/IL3iKjNTdo
— National Weather Service (@NWS) March 31, 2023
And also prayers those recovering from the recent monster storms last week.
A monster tornado cut a deadly path of at least 170 miles through Mississippi and produced dozens of other twisters obliterating towns in the state and ravaging parts of Alabama.
The National Weather Service (NWS) sent crews to survey the tornado, but preliminary information based on estimates from storm reports and radar data indicate that one tornado was on the ground for more than an hour.
For those who are tornado-curious, 2011 was the busiest year for tornadoes in the U.S. since recording began in 1950. A total of 1,894 tornadoes were reported.
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