The death toll rose to 21 people Saturday after confirmed or suspected tornadoes in at least eight states tore through the South and Midwest, leaving residents to pick up the pieces as more severe weather loomed.
U.S. power outages spanned a huge swath of the nation from Arkansas to New York and spiked to over 1 million customers on Saturday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us. The widespread outages come as bad weather moved toward the Northeast and parts Midwest and South recovered from destruction that began on Friday.
The storms left a path of damage across states including Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Iowa.
Clips from our intercept of the Sherman, IL tornado yesterday north of Springfield. First one shows a brief condensed vortex before the clip gets stopped by a WEA alert. Second clip shows the whole mesocyclone and multivortex tor crossing the road in front of us. @Ridge_Riders_ pic.twitter.com/VxCtvBE3jX
— Ethan Mok (@Emokwx) April 1, 2023
Meanwhile, the Ohio Valley, Northeast and mid-Atlantic braced for strong winds and severe thunderstorms, the National Weather Service forecasted. Isolated hail, scattered wind gusts up to 70 mph and a couple tornadoes are possible as severe thunderstorm watches were issued for parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, according to AccuWeather private weather agency.
Seven dead in Tennessee’s McNairy County
Seven people died in southern Tennessee’s McNairy County, said David Leckner, the mayor of Adamsville, Tennessee. Most damage impacted homes and residential areas, and first responders went door to door Saturday to make sure everyone was accounted for, Leckner said.
In Lewis County, Tennessee, Melissa Keller ran to her bathroom to hide from the storm in the community where she’s lived with her family for nearly 50 years. Her house was still standing Saturday, but her sister’s was destroyed, she said.
🚨🚨MASSIVE, MASSIVE TORNADO… 🌪️Mile-Wide+ Will be approaching Iowa City (home of University of Iowa). This will flatten ANYTHING in its path. TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY!!#tornado #Iowa #Keota #Hedrick #IowaCity #tornadoes pic.twitter.com/j6qpdJiBw6
— Steve Norris (@SteveNorrisTV) March 31, 2023
“I’ve never seen nothing like this,” Keller said. ‘Absolute chaos’: Illinois theater roof collapses during concert
A theater roof collapsed Friday evening in Belvidere, Illinois, about 70 miles northwest of Chicago, amid an intense storm, killing one person and injuring 28.
About 260 people were attending a heavy metal concert at the Apollo Theatre when the storm struck, Belvidere Fire Department Chief Shawn Schadle said.
Elsewhere in central Illinois, many communities had significant property damage and knocked-down power lines. A horse stable in Sangamon County was damaged, and 32 horses were unaccounted for.
Jack Ealey of Sherman, Illinois, rode out the storm on the floor of his pickup truck, which was parked in his garage. He said his house was uninhabitable and the rear of his garage was torn off.