At least 21 people were killed by storms that produced perhaps dozens of tornadoes in small towns and major cities throughout the South and Midwest on Saturday.
The storms also destroyed the roof of a crowded concert venue in Illinois and tore through the capital of Arkansas.
At least eight states experienced confirmed or suspected tornadoes that obliterated houses and businesses, split trees, and decimated entire neighborhoods. Seven people in one Tennessee county and four in a tiny town were killed.
In addition to the one reported near Little Rock, Arkansas, where municipal officials claimed more than 2,600 buildings were in a tornado’s path, other fatalities from the storms that hit Friday night into Saturday were also confirmed in Alabama and Mississippi.
The roof of the high school in Wynne, a town of 8,000 people located 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Memphis, Tennessee, was torn off, and its windows were blown out when residents woke up on Saturday.
Massive trees with reduced-to-nub stumps were lying on the ground. Shattered walls, windows, and roofs plagued homes and businesses.
Clothing, insulation, roofing paper, toys, splintered furniture, a pickup truck with broken windows, and other everyday items were scattered throughout the shells of the houses and on the grounds.
No one in the family was wounded, but Ashley Macmillan claimed she, her husband, and their children and pets were gathered in a small bathroom as a tornado passed, “praying and saying farewell to one other, because we believed we were dead.”
We felt the house trembling and heard loud noises and rattling crockery. Then it just became tranquil,” she remarked.
As recovery began, employees used bulldozers and chainsaws to clear the area. Utility workers were restored to power.
According to David Leckner, the mayor of Adamsville, at least seven people were killed in Tennessee’s McNairy County, located east of Memphis and close to the Mississippi border.
Although it looked like everyone was accounted for, Leckner stated that “the majority of the damage has been done to residences and residential areas,” adding that teams were going door to door to ensure.
Gov. Bill Lee traveled to the county on Saturday to see the damage, noting that the storm struck only days after a Nashville school shooting that claimed six lives.
But it seems like your town has responded as Tennessee communities do, he continued.
After discovering on the news that their community of Adamsville was being hit, Jeffrey Day claimed he called his daughter.
She answered the phone yelling as the storm passed over as she and her two-year-old son were huddled in a closet.
Adam Niemerg, a lawmaker from Illinois, described the tornado as “catastrophic.”
A mere 95 miles (150 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis, in Sullivan County, Indiana, three individuals were killed by that tornado.
A region south of the county seat, which has a population of roughly 4,000, is “almost unrecognizable right now,” according to Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb, who also noted that many persons were pulled from the rubble overnight.
According to accounts, there were up to 12 injuries, and rescue personnel searched the wrecked sites.
He added that healing “is going to be a very long process” and expressed his wonder that there aren’t more “human concerns.”
Almost 50 people were injured, at least one fatally, in the Little Rock area.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders proclaimed a state of emergency to assist local first responders and mobilized the National Guard.
According to county official Mac McCutcheon, a woman was killed in another probable tornado in Madison County, in northern Alabama.
Moreover, authorities in Pontotoc County, in north Mississippi, confirmed one death and four injuries.
Northeast of Peoria, Illinois, tornadoes also shattered windows and caused damage in eastern Iowa.
Only hours earlier, President Joe Biden had visited Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where a week earlier, tornadoes had decimated parts of the town.
According to Bill Bunting, the Storm Prediction Center’s chief of prediction operations, figuring out the precise number of tornadoes could take days. He added that several reports of significant hail and destructive winds were also made.