Tornado updates: At least 32 dead, dozens injured across 9 states
Dozens of people are dead across nine states and dozens have been hospitalized after a tornado outbreak moved across the U.S. on Friday and Saturday, according to local officials.
At least 32 people have died as a result of the storms, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
Among the fatalities, five were in Arkansas, five died in Indiana, one died in Alabama, and one died in Mississippi, local officials told ABC News. McNairy County Mayor Larry Smith told ABC News that nine people died in the county. In Illinois, four people died, including a man who was killed after a roof collapsed during a concert at a historic theater.
The storm pattern moved east on Saturday with one person confirmed dead in Sussex County, Delaware, after a home collapsed, Leonard DeMalto, a spokesman for the Delaware State Police, told ABC News.
The National Weather Service has confirmed at least 31 tornadoes across 9 states on Friday and Saturday. More than 28 million people across the South and Midwest were under a tornado watch going into Friday night, according to the NWS.
Arkansas hit with 'catastrophic' tornado
A "catastrophic" tornado moved through the metro area of Little Rock, Arkansas, in Pulaski County Friday afternoon, the NWS confirmed. According to preliminary NWS information, the EF3 tornado had winds up to 165 mph and a path length spanning 20-25 miles.
At least one person died and more than 50 people across Pulaski County have been hospitalized, with that number expected to rise, Madeline Roberts, a spokeswoman for the county's emergency management agency, told ABC News. She did not have information on the conditions of those injured.
A tornado emergency had been issued for metro Little Rock on Friday afternoon due to the threat of a damaging tornado and quarter-sized hail.
"Property damage is extensive and we are still responding," Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. tweeted.
According to Scott, 2,100 residents were impacted in western and southern Little Rock and between 27,000 and 30,000 homes were without power on Saturday.
"Many folks have been displaced and looking for a shelter. We're working towards that, again, if someone's in need of shelter, we're asking you to go to Hall High School," Scott said.
Capt. Jacob Lear-Sadowsky with the Little Rock Fire Department told ABC News Friday that there were a "significant" number of injuries from the storm.
Damage is centered in West Little Rock, where "multiple structures," both commercial and residential, have been destroyed, Lear-Sadowsky said. Power lines and trees are also downed and cars have been flipped over due to the storm.
As the powerful supercell moved eastward, a "confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado" was located around 5:13 p.m. local time near Earle, Arkansas, west of Memphis, the NWS said, calling it a "life-threatening situation."
Four people have been pronounced dead in Wynne, located roughly 50 miles west of Memphis, which took a direct hit from a tornado. Miles Kimble, the coroner of neighboring St. Francis County, who was assisting in Wynne, confirmed the death toll to ABC News.
Wynne Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told ABC News Friday night they have experienced "major damage" and that she believes people are trapped but could not estimate a number.
"We're still trying to get crews out and make sure we don't have people trapped and continue to assess the damage," Hobbs said, adding that the tornado split the city of more than 8,000 people in half.
New video shows a "catastrophic" tornado churning through metro Little Rock, Arkansas, amid a significant tornado outbreak in the South, according to the NWS. https://t.co/5Sv7gwgqxp pic.twitter.com/n7CJMWy99q
— ABC News (@ABC) March 31, 2023
"We had no idea that it would be this much damage that we're seeing right now at this point," Latricia Woodruff, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management, told ABC News Live Prime on Friday about the tornado activity in the state. "There's a lot of homes that have been damaged, other structures. We heard about a fire station here in Little Rock that had some damage to it, as well."
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency due to Friday's severe weather and activated the National Guard to assist state and local law enforcement. She said there was "significant damage" in central Arkansas due to the storm.
"Arkansans must continue to stay weather aware as storms are continuing to move through," Sanders tweeted.
Sanders spoke with President Joe Biden on Saturday, saying Biden and Homeland Security have "offered a tremendous amount of support."
"Anything that Arkansas needs, they have assured us that those resources will be here and on the ground," she said during a press conference Saturday.
1 dead after roof of Illinois theater collapses
In Illinois, a 50-year-old man died and dozens were injured after a roof collapsed at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere due to a suspected tornado, officials said.
A tornado siren went off at 7:24 p.m. local time; at 7:47 p.m., there were reports of the roof collapse, according to Dan Zaccard, emergency management director for Boone County.
Hospitals received more than 40 patients from the incident, including 28 who were transported from the scene via ambulances, officials said.
MORE: 1 dead, over 40 injured after roof of Illinois theater collapses during suspected tornado: Officials
In Crawford County, three people died after a residential structure they were in collapsed, a state official told ABC News.
Indiana: Sullivan 'like a war zone'
The mayor of Sullivan, Indiana, said midday Saturday that about 200 structures in Sullivan County were severely damaged, calling it "mass devastation," as search-and-rescue efforts were ongoing after Friday's severe weather.
"What this looks like, is a war zone," Mayor Clint Lamb said during a press briefing.
An area south of the county seat of about 4,000 "is essentially unrecognizable right now," Lamb said earlier.
ABC News' Will McDuffie, Jianna Cousin, Matt Foster, Robinson Perez and Kenton Gewecke contributed to this report.
Tornado updates: At least 32 dead, dozens injured across 9 states originally appeared on abcnews.go.com