Deadly storms, tornadoes sweep through US


Published: 2023-04-02 19:45

Last Updated: 2024-05-21 21:55

Deadly storms, tornadoes sweep through US
Deadly storms, tornadoes sweep through US

The death toll from a major storm system that has lashed the south-central and eastern United States with devastating winds and destructive tornadoes rose to at least 26 by Sunday, officials said.

Tennessee, one of the hardest-hit states since the storms began Friday, initially had seven weather-related fatalities, but the toll there later rose to nine, according to Memphis-based news channel WREG.

Scenes of devastation were left in the path of the Tennessee tornado, which twisted trees, flattened homes into piles of wooden boards and ripped walls from still-standing structures.

"The whole house, you can feel it shaking," said Janice Pieterick, whose house doors and glass windows blew out when the tornado swept through Lewis County.

"We just all hunkered down."

The toll in Tennessee came on top of the 17 deaths reported in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama in the south, Indiana and Illinois in the Midwest, and Delaware in the mid-Atlantic.

The storm system left dozens injured.

It sent multiple tornadoes -- some of exceptional size and rare power -- sweeping through Arkansas, where they killed at least five people, the state's governor said.

Daylight revealed extensive damage, with several homes torn apart, cars overturned, power lines toppled and trees ripped out of the ground.

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency and activated the national guard to help with recovery efforts.

She said she had spoken to President Joe Biden, who promised to expedite federal aid.

The city of Wynne, in northeastern Arkansas, was "cut in half by damage from east to west," Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told CNN.

The National Weather Service had issued tornado warnings for several other states, from as far north as Iowa to the southern state of Mississippi, where a twister last week killed 25 people and caused extensive property damage.