Speed Reads

Destruction Across the States

At least 20 dead after storm system rips through South and Midwest

More than 20 people died during storms that barreled across the Southern and Midwest United States on Friday evening, causing torrential rains and tornadoes that left widespread destruction in multiple states. 

The storm system carved a path through Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana. Additional storm warnings and power outages were reported in Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, according to The Associated Press

In Belvidere, Illinois, 70 miles northwest of Chicago, at least one person died at 28 others were injured when a tornado caused a theater roof to collapse during a heavy metal concert. One witness told the Chicago Tribune that the scene was "absolute chaos," and recovery efforts throughout the town are continuing. 

In Indiana, there were at least three deaths in Sullivan County, Emergency Management Director Jim Pirtle told AP. The storms damaged homes and threw debris into the air, and a number of residents were reportedly missing. 

The crux of the storm system, though, was in Arkansas, where tornadoes took out entire homes and shopping centers in a matter of minutes. At least five people were reportedly killed in the state, and the capital city of Little Rock was struck by a "large and destructive tornado," per The Washington PostAt least 50 people had been hospitalized in the immediate area, a spokesperson for Little Rock's Pulaski County said.

The town of Wynne was almost totally destroyed, with four deaths being confirmed. Wynne Police Chief Richard Dennis said there was "total destruction throughout the town," per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazetteand dozens of people were trapped in the rubble. 

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) activated the state's National Guard and declared a state of emergency, adding on Twitter that she was "praying for the safety of all Arkansans who are in the path of these storms."