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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Adrian Sainz & Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press

US monster storm kills 26 people as tornadoes rip through South and Midwest

At least 26 people have died as tornadoes rip through the US South and Midwest with storms destroying homes and businesses across the region.

Tornadoes struck in eight states, with seven people killed in one Tennessee county, four in the small town of Wynne, Arkansas, three in Sullivan, Indiana, and four in Illinois.

The storms tore a path through the Arkansas capital, collapsing the roof of a packed concert venue in Illinois.

Other deaths from the storms that hit Friday night into Saturday were reported in Alabama and Mississippi, along with one near Little Rock, Arkansas, where city officials said more than 2,600 buildings were in a tornado's path.

Damage to homes in Sherwood, Arkansas (AP)

Residents of Wynne, a community of about 8,000 people 50 miles west of Memphis, Tennessee, woke Saturday to find the high school's roof shredded and its windows blown out. Huge trees lay on the ground with broken walls, windows and roofs destroyed in homes and businesses.

Ashley Macmillan said she, her husband and their children huddled with their dogs in a small bathroom as a tornado passed, "praying and saying goodbye to each other, because we thought we were dead." A falling tree seriously damaged their home, but no one in the family was hurt.

"We could feel the house shaking, we could hear loud noises, dishes rattling. And then it just got calm," she said.

At least seven people died in Tennessee's McNairy County, east of Memphis along the Mississippi border, said David Leckner, the mayor of Adamsville.

Police and firefighters get help from volunteers clearing downed trees in Sherwood (AP)

Governor Bill Lee drove to the county Saturday to survey the damage, noting that the storm came days after six people were killed in a school shooting in Nashville.

"But it looks like your community has done what Tennessean communities do, and that is rally and respond," he said.

Jeffrey Day said he called his daughter after seeing on the news that their community of Adamsville was being hit. Huddled in a closet with her two-year-old son as the storm passed over, she answered the phone screaming.

"She kept asking me, What do I do, daddy?'" Day said. "I didn't know what to say."

In Belvidere, Illinois, part of the roof of the Apollo Theatre collapsed as about 260 people were attending a heavy metal concert. Some of them pulled a 50-year-old man from the rubble, but he was dead when emergency workers arrived. Officials said 40 other people were hurt, including two with life-threatening injuries.

"They dragged someone out from the rubble, and I sat with him and I held his hand and I was (telling him),It's going to be OK.' I didn't really know much else what to do," concertgoer Gabrielle Lewellyn told WTVO-TV.

On Saturday, crews were cleaning up around the Apollo, with forklifts pulling away loose bricks. Business owners picked up shards of glass and covered shattered windows.

At least 21 people have died in the storms (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In Crawford County, Illinois, three people were killed and eight others injured after a tornado hit around New Hebron, Bill Burke, the county board chair, said.

"We've had emergency crews digging people out of their basements because the house is collapsed on top of them, but luckily they had that safe space to go to," Sheriff Bill Rutan said at a news conference.

Illinois state Rep. Adam Niemerg called the tornado "catastrophic."

That tornado was not far from where three people were killed in Indiana's Sullivan County, about 95 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb said at a news conference that an area south of the county seat of about 4,000 "is essentially unrecognisable right now" and that several people were rescued from rubble overnight. There were reports of as many as 12 people injured, he said, and search-and-rescue teams combed damaged areas.

Tornadoes struck in eight states (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

"I'm really, really shocked there isn't more as far as human issues," he said, adding that recovery "is going to be a very long process."

In the Little Rock area, at least one person was killed and more than 50 were hurt.

The National Weather Service said that tornado was a high-end EF3 twister with wind speeds up to 165mph and a path as long as 25 miles.

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to help local responders.

Another suspected tornado killed a woman in northern Alabama's Madison County, county official Mac McCutcheon said. And in northern Mississippi's Pontotoc County, officials confirmed one death and four injuries.

Tornadoes also caused damage in eastern Iowa and broke windows northeast of Peoria, Illinois.

People examine the damage to homes (AP)

The storms struck just hours after President Joe Biden visited Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where tornadoes last week destroyed parts of town.

It could take days to determine the exact number of tornadoes, said Bill Bunting, chief of forecast operations at the Storm Prediction Center. There were also hundreds of reports of large hail and damaging winds, he said.

More than 530,000 homes and businesses in the affected area lacked power at midday Saturday, over 200,000 of them in Ohio, according to

The sprawling storm system also brought wildfires to the southern Plains, with nearly 100 new ones reported Friday in Oklahoma, according to the state forest service.

At least 32 people were injured in the fires, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. There were reports of more than 40 homes destroyed around the state.

The storms also caused blizzard conditions in the Upper Midwest.

A threat of tornadoes and hail remained for the Northeast including in parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

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