In the United States, a tornado in Arkansas and violent thunderstorms in Illinois kill at least four people / France News

A week after a violent tornado touched down in Mississippi, killing 25 people and causing immense property damage, a powerful tornado swept through the southern state of Arkansas on Friday March 31, causing the less than three dead. Under the impact of a violent storm, a theater partially collapsed in the state of Illinois, in the north of the country, killing at least one person and injuring 28, according to the authorities.

In Arkansas, two people died in the small town of Wynne, governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press conference, who declared a state of emergency and deployed a hundred national guards. “Central Arkansas suffered significant damage”has she tweeted.

A third person died in Pulaski County, where the state capital Little Rock is located, hard hit by the tornado, as local authorities confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP). “Thirty people were transported to hospitals” of the city, has also declared to the press Frank Scott, the mayor of Little Rock.

Read also: Mississippi: at least twenty-five people killed during the passage of a tornado and violent storms

Gutted homes in Arkansas

Kris French and his family search through the rubble for a VCR that reportedly captured the tornado directly hitting their business, Champs Car Wash, after it damaged hundreds of homes and buildings, March 31, 2023 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Arkansas tornado hit in the afternoon, sweeping through several neighborhoods in Little Rock. The US National Weather Service (NWS) has also issued tornado warnings for parts of neighboring states, such as Tennessee, Illinois and Iowa.

The latter left in its wake a spectacle of desolation, with overturned cars, huge uprooted trees, telephone poles broken in two and hundreds of gutted houses.

Lara Farrar, a reporter for a local business publication, told AFP by phone that she had been “totally in shock” upon discovering the damage near her home in Little Rock. “The roof of some buildings was completely blown off”she testified, sharing images of destroyed houses, the walls partially torn down, trees on the ground.

“The neighborhood was simply completely razed and destroyed”she added, referring to significant destruction on a strip about 500 meters wide, but with “very little damage” outside.

More than 78,000 people were without power in Arkansas after the tornado hit, according to the American website Poweroutage.

The governor’s services were unable to provide AFP with an immediate report, but a hospital told a local newspaper that it had received ” several “ people in serious condition.

  Homes and a car damaged by the tornado on March 31, 2023 in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States.

Collapse of a theater in the middle of a concert in Illinois

In the north of the country, in the small town of Belvidere, west of Chicago, in the State of Illinois, part of the roof and the facade of the Apollo Theater collapsed during a violent storm. A concert by a heavy metal band was underway, according to local media.


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Shawn Schadle, Belvidere Fire Chief, reported one death and 28 injuries, including five hospitalized with serious injuries. More than twenty ambulances were mobilized, according to the local press.

Television footage showed injured spectators being evacuated on stretchers, and photos on social media showed a waist-deep pile of debris and a gaping hole in the roof in the venue.

Tornadoes, meteorological phenomena as impressive as they are difficult to predict, are common in the United States, especially in the center and south of the country. In December 2021, approximately 80 people also lost their lives following a series of tornadoes in Kentucky.

Read the archive (2014): “The United States, the country most affected by tornadoes in the world”

The World with AFP

Written by Personal News

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