At least four dead after 43 tornadoes carve deadly path through the Midwest trends now
A violent tornado tore down the roof of an Illinois theatre during a heavy metal concert on Friday night, killing one and hospitalizing 28 more after a series of violent twisters tore through the US.
The Midwest is waking up to devastation this morning inflicted by around 43 tornadoes across six states, according to preliminary reports from the Storm Prediction Center.
As of Friday evening, three were also confirmed dead in Arkansas, bringing the total death toll to four, while hundreds more are injured.
The storm is expected to move east this weekend, with a tornado watch issued for parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
It comes after the only major trauma center in Arkansas - the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital - declared a level-1 mass casualty alert after a tornado struck Little Rock.
Authorities work the scene at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Illinois, after a severe spring storm caused damage and injuries during a concert,
The theatre saw its roof cave in at around 7.55pm local time when 260 people were inside. They had gathered to see the heavy metal band Morbid Angel
Fire chief Shawn Schadle told reporters 28 people were taken to hospital with five in a serious condition
Dramatic scenes saw cars flipping, roofs smashing and trees toppled across the South and Midwest while tens of thousands were left without power in Arkansas and Missouri.
The Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Illinois, saw its roof cave in at around 7.55pm local time when 260 people were inside.
The concert-goers had gathered to see the heavy metal band Morbid Angel.
Fire chief Shawn Schadle told reporters 28 people were taken to hospital with five in a serious condition.
One witness uploaded a video of the disturbing aftermath on Facebook.
'I was one of the first ones on the scene and I just started praying & crying,' Johnny Garner wrote on Facebook.
'So many people being carried away it didn't look real.'
In Covington, Tennessee, five people were being treated in hospital after a tornado touched down in the city.
A spokesman for the Baptist Memorial Hospital-Tipton was not damaged by the storm and its staff were receiving and treating patients as of Friday night.
The Covington Police Department shared photos of roads blocked by downed power poles and trees toppled in front of homes.
The force said the city was 'impassable' and urged residents to stay off the roads due to hazards and to allow emergency crews to pass through to critical areas.
Earlier in the night several flights at Chicago O'Hare International Airport were also delayed or cancelled as passengers were told to take shelter due to what it described as "severe weather".
Preliminary reports estimate that 16 tornadoes occurred in Illinois, 12 in Arkansas, eight in Iowa, three in Wisconsin, two in Mississippi and two in Tennessee.
The Midwest can expect a little reprieve this weekend as the storms appear to move east, according to reports by the Weather Channel.
The service said thunderstorms would be the main concern on Saturday but 'a tornado or two cannot be ruled out in the Southeast.
The tornadoes have splintered homes and flattened entire neighborhoods, overturned vehicles and tossed trees and debris onto roads as people raced for shelter.
Roofs and walls were ripped away from many buildings, while trees were uprooted, andvehicles flipped over.
'We're operating in red status, with all hands on deck,' said Aaron Gilkey, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) agency.
Homes in West Little Rock suffered major damage after being pummeled by the tornado
Little remains of the neighborhood after powerful storm left a trail of destruction
Entire neighborhoods were flattened by the destructive storms
A monster tornado has ripped apart Arkansas capital Little Rock just a week after more than two dozen deadly twisters tore through Mississippi and parts of Alabama killing at least 26
A second tornado was spotted forming in Des Moines, Iowa
There were two more confirmed twisters in Iowa, damaging hail fell in Illinois and wind-whipped grass fires blazed in Oklahoma, part of a massive storm system threatening a broad swath of the country that is home to some 85 million people in the South and Midwest.
The storms came just a week after more than two dozen deadly twisters tore throughMississippi and parts of Alabama killing at least 26.
Footage of the ferocious weather system was filmed from the 7th floor of the Little Rock Baptist Medical Center. The person filming could be heard gasping at the massive swirling twister as it came ever-closer.
A man, who appeared unaware of the vortex, was filmed standing on the roof of another building as the powerful tornado - which reportedly reached level 3 or 'mass casualty' strength - travelled towards him.
Another video in the wake of the massive system revealed debris scattered in the streets of Little Rock, which is just three-hours north west of Rolling Fork, where deadly storms hit last week.
Aerial footage posted by The Weather Channel showed a heavily damaged area of the city spanning several blocks with numerous homes missing roofs and walls, some of them collapsed, and overturned vehicles littering streets.
The National Weather Service also reported that tornado activity had destroyed several homes and downed trees in and around Little Rock.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said on Twitter that he had asked Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders to mobilize National Guard troops to assist in the emergency response.
Sanders signed an executive order to immediately authorize $250,000 from the state disaster response and recovery fund to be used at the discretion of the director of the state Division of Emergency Management, a local reporter tweeted.
The twister struck the capital city of Arkansas as an immense blast of extreme spring weather swept much of the United States, menacing the nation's midsection from Texas to the Great Lakes with dangerous thunderstorms and tornadoes.
'At this time, we know of 24 people who have been hospitalized at Little Rock hospitals and we are not aware of any fatalities in Little Rock,' Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said on Twitter.
Separately, Baptist Health Medical Center in the adjoining town of North Little Rock, just across the Arkansas River from the capital, reported treating 11 patients from the storm, one of them in critical condition. Local television station KTHV-TV reported one storm-related death in North Little Rock, but that could not be immediately confirmed.
Between five and 10 other people injured by the twister were treated at the emergency department of the Unity Health hospital in nearby Jacksonville, administrator Kevin Burton said.
The National Weather Service was tracking about 18 tornado reports, mostly in Arkansas and Iowa.
Tens of millions of Americans across the Great Plans, Midwest, South and East were under warnings and advisories for various weather hazards on Friday afternoon and evening and into the weekend, the National Weather Service said.
A home is damaged and trees are down after a tornado swept through Little Rock
The entire side of a law office buildings appears stripped away as tornadoes struck Little Rock
The entire side of the building simply peeled away as the tornado tore through
In North Little Rock, even sturdier brick buildings caved in on themselves
Shrubs are covered in debris after the destructive tornadoes
The weather service issued tornado watches for a region stretching from east Texas through the mid-South and Midwest as far north as Wisconsin, urging some 15 million people living in that area to prepare for violent twisters on Friday afternoon and evening.
'This is a particularly dangerous situation,' the weather service said.
Northeastern Arkansas, Missouri's southern boot-heel, western Kentucky and western Tennessee were at greatest risk of severe thunderstorms capable of producing violent tornadoes, large hail and damaging straight-line winds, weather service said.
Several other major cities including Chicago, Indianapolis, and Memphis, were possibly in harm's way of the severe weather, it added.
According to the Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services at least 600 people were injured in the Arkansas area alone. Meanwhile, a second tornado was spotted forming in Des Moines.
The destructive weather continued for hundreds of miles. In the tiny town of Wynne, 100 miles east of Little Rock, the police chief described it as 'dozens' being trapped with 'total destruction all over town.
'The town was basically cut in half by damage from east to west,' Wynne Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told CNN on Friday evening. 'We are still in triage mode.'
More than 350,000 people were at risk as what the National Weather Service called a 'confirmed large and destructive tornado' tore through business districts and neighborhoods in Little Rock and North Little Rock.
The Little Rock tornado tore first through neighborhoods in the western part of the city and shredded a small shopping center that included a Kroger grocery store. It then crossed the Arkansas River into North Little Rock and surrounding cities, where widespread damage was reported to homes, businesses and vehicles.
The destructive weather continued for hundreds of miles. In the tiny town of Wynne, 100 miles east of Little Rock, the police chief described it as 'dozens' being trapped with 'total destruction all over town
The tornado wreaked destruction on buildings across the Little Rock area
Homes had the tiles from their roof blown off
Telegraph poles and powerlines came down under the destructive power of the tornado
Debris littered the streets of the Arkansas capital following the storms on Friday afternoon
One television news crew in Little Rock saw trees uprooted by the strong winds
Trees that had stood for generations were felled by Friday's storm
Roads became blocked after branches from trees blocked the area
Branches are seen strewn all over the place, while part of the wall from a home came away
Emergency services were quickly on scene. It is hard to know where to begin
Downed powerlines and trees led to roads quickly becoming blocked
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock was operating at a mass casualty level, spokesperson Leslie Taylor said. Several people had already been transported to the medical center, but an exact count was not immediately available.
Mark Hulsey, a special projects manager for Pulaski County, which includes Little Rock, said at least one person was in critical condition.
Resident Niki Scott took cover in the bathroom after her husband called to say a tornado was headed her way. She could hear glass shattering as the tornado roared past, and emerged afterward to find that her house was one of the few on her street that didn't have a tree fall on it.
'It's just like everyone says. It got really quiet, then it got really loud,' Scott said
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