At least 5 killed in Arkansas tornadoes as storms rip through state
At least five people are dead in the wake of devastating tornadoes in Arkansas.
Four people were killed in Wynne, while one person was killed in North Little Rock, according to KARK.
The severe storms swept through the state, flipping cars over and tearing roofs from buildings.
A tornado made its way through the capital city earlier on Friday, with a string of other tornado warnings in place throughout the afternoon as the storm moved east at around 60mph.
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has declared a state of emergency and stated on Twitter, “We will spare no resource to assist with response and recovery efforts for Arkansans impacted.”
Significant damage was reported around the Little Rock metro area, including overturned trees in major roadways, which have caused crashes, according to local news outlet KARK. Traffic was halted in both directions on Interstate 430 due to a crash.
A number of 18-wheeler trucks were reportedly been blown over by high winds, and members of the Little Rock National Weather Service were forced to take shelter while monitoring the storm, according to 4029TV.
Drone footage provided by WeatherNation showed the extent of the destruction on Friday. Homes in the path of the twister were reduced to rubble for blocks.
Another video, captured by a resident, captured the massive funnel cloud speeding across the Little Rock metro area.
Other residents shared photos of toppled trees that blocked roadways and crushed the roofs of houses.
Our first look at the damage of the #littlerock tornado - the storm continues now into eastern Arkansas. We hope everyone is ok. Our field teams are assessing damage on the ground and bringing us the latest on @WeatherNation pic.twitter.com/hcvVdJnauv
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) March 31, 2023
Video of the Little Rock tornado from Aaron Borders. #arwx pic.twitter.com/AoPvXHkH0I
— James Bryant (@KATVJames) March 31, 2023
Nearly 54,000 customers lost power on Friday afternoon in Pulaski County, where Little Rock is located. It’s unclear how long it will take to restore power.
The tornado is part of a larger storm system covering 15 states in the midwest and the US south. Meteorologists have likened the conditions to those that unleashed powerful tornados last week that killed 21 people in Mississippi, according to the Associated Press.
More than 85 million people were under severe weather warnings earlier on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Ping-pong ball sized hail was reported in Arkansas, Iowa, and Missouri.
The storms were the most severe along a stretch of the Mississippi River from Wisconsin down to Mississippi. High-risk, severe weather advisories were issued in the Memphis, Davenport, and Quiny areas.
The Chicago area was under a rare significantly severe weather risk, with thunderstorms, hail, high winds, and tornados, according to CBS 4. Blizzard conditions caused by high winds and heavy snow hit the Dakotas as far east as Michigan, according to USA Today.