5:15 am - Monday July 22, 2024

String of Deadly Storms Hits Across Midwest and South

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ATLANTA — A violent weather system lashed the Midwest and South with tornadoes on Sunday, killing at least 12 people, officials said, and leaving vast areas of destruction. Forecasters warned that additional severe storms were likely on Monday.

In Arkansas, the National Weather Service reported late Sunday that one tornado had “caused extensive destruction, possibly to multiple towns” just north of Little Rock.

Local television stations and social media websites showed mangled trees and splintered houses, and a segment of Interstate 40 near Mayflower was closed. Entergy Arkansas reported more than 15,000 customers without electricity late Sunday.

Eleven people were killed across Arkansas, Gov. Mike Beebe’s communications office reported on Twitter early Monday. Faulkner and Pulaski counties had five fatalities each, and one person was killed in White County.

Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Governor Beebe, said in an interview late on Sunday that there were “widespread injuries.” He said the governor was planning to visit the damaged areas on Monday.

“They’ve been pulling people out of the rubble all night,” said Mr. DeCample, who added that the National Guard had been mobilized as state officials embarked on a search-and-rescue operation.

Farther west, one person was killed when a tornado struck Quapaw, Okla., a town about 100 miles northeast of Tulsa, around 5:30 p.m., Ottawa County officials said. Kelli Flechs, a dispatcher for the Ottawa County sheriff, said the storm had caused severe damage to the fire station and several homes in the town of about 900. Initial reports said that two people had been killed, but officials later revised that number to one.

About 15 minutes after hitting Quapaw, the storm moved into Baxter Springs, Kan. A dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Department in Cherokee County, Taylor Haynes, said the tornado went several blocks, injuring several people and leaving extensive damage to homes and other buildings.

Two days after at least six tornadoes touched down in North Carolina, a baby boy died on Sunday, his uncle said on a website set up to raise money for the boy’s family. The uncle, Richard Bain, said that his nephew Gavin had been in a coma since Friday at a hospital in Norfolk, Va. He said the boy was home with his mother, Ashley Bain, and sister when the roof of their home caved in on them.

“My sister is a single mother of two trying to go to school, and now has had everything taken away from her,” Mr. Bain said. “I wish I could do something more than this.”

Forecasters had been discussing the possibility of an outbreak of severe weather for days, and the National Weather Service on Sunday said that parts of Arkansas were at a high risk of trouble.

Officials warned that the system was likely to spawn more storms on Monday. The National Weather Service predicted “widespread severe storms, including strong tornadoes” for Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

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