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Deadly Storms and Hurricanes Leave 26 Dead Across the United States

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Officials announced Sunday that at least 26 people were killed in a severe storm that hit the south-central and eastern United States.

Memphis-based news channel WREG reported that Tennessee, one of the hardest-hit states since the storms began Friday, initially had seven weather-related deaths, but it later rose to nine.

Scenes of destruction were left in the path of the Tennessee hurricane, which roasted trees, flattened homes into piles of shingles, and ripped walls from structures still standing.

“The whole house, you could feel it shaking,” said Janice Petrick, whose home’s glass doors and windows blew off as the tornado ripped through Lewis County.

“We all got together.”

The death toll in Tennessee came on top of the 15 deaths reported in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama in the south, Indiana and Illinois in the Midwest, and Delaware in the mid-Atlantic.

The storm system, which left dozens injured, battered the US East Coast on Saturday, with thunderstorms, hail and strong winds expected until late Sunday.

The state’s governor said it sent multiple tornadoes – some of exceptional size and strength – sweeping through Arkansas, killing at least five people.

Daylight revealed significant damage, with many homes destroyed, cars overturned, power lines down, and trees uprooted from the ground.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to assist with recovery efforts.

She said she has spoken to President Joe Biden, who has promised to speed up federal aid.

Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told CNN that Wayne, in northeastern Arkansas, was “cut in half by the damage from east to west.”

The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for several other states, from as far north as Iowa to southern Mississippi, where the tornado killed 25 people last week and caused extensive property damage.

Party tragedy

Disaster struck the town of Belvedere, Illinois, outside Chicago, on Friday when severe weather caused the roof and part of the facade of the Apollo Theater to collapse while a metal band was playing inside.

Television footage showed emergency personnel carrying injured people from the party on stretchers, while a video posted on social media showed waist-high debris on the floor of the venue and a hole in the roof.

Belvidere Fire Chief Sean Shadel reported one death and 28 injuries, including five people who were hospitalized with serious injuries.

In Crawford County, southern Illinois, three people died when a house collapsed, most likely from a tornado, said Kevin Sur, a spokesman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

In neighboring Indiana, three people were killed in a storm in Sullivan County, on the border with Illinois, several US media reported, citing local authorities.

Emergency officials reported Saturday that tornadoes overnight claimed one life in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, and another life in Madison County, Alabama.

More than 610,000 homes were without electricity on Saturday, according to the Power Outage website.

The storm is moving north

As the storm tracked to the northeast, the largest number of outages occurred Saturday afternoon in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Neighboring Delaware suffered one fatality from a “collapsed structure” in Sussex County Saturday night, according to the county’s emergency operations center, while several mid-Atlantic states were given warnings of high winds.

The National Weather System warned that “maximum wind gusts could approach 60 miles (100 kilometers) per hour across much of the Appalachian Mountains, the upper Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic today.

Tornadoes are common in the United States, especially in the center and south of the country.

On Friday, Biden visited Rolling Fork, Mississippi, one of the areas hardest hit by last week’s hurricane.

In December 2021, tornadoes killed about 80 people in Kentucky.

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