Death toll rises to 32 after tornado outbreaks throughout South and Midwest


The major storm system that traveled through the South and the Midwest beginning on Friday has killed at least 32 people. The National Weather Service has confirmed at least 31 tornadoes across 9 states on Friday and Saturday, with more than 28 million people across the South and Midwest under a tornado watch going into Friday night.

According to the National Weather Service field office in Nashville, thirteen of the deaths occurred in Tennessee, where an EF-2 tornado struck Wayne and Lewis counties on Friday night, later also hitting McNairy and Hardin counties. Nine of the deaths were in buildings that were destroyed down to their foundations in McNairy County, according to McNairy County Sheriff Guy Buck, who added that a tornado crossed the entire county and stayed on the ground for over 30 miles causing “every kind of damage imaginable.”

The NWS confirmed that a “catastrophic” tornado moved through the metro area of Little Rock, Arkansas, in Pulaski County Friday afternoon. According to preliminary NWS information, the EF3 tornado had winds up to 165 mph and a path length spanning 20-25 miles. Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. tweeted: “Property damage is extensive and we are still responding.” 

President Joe Biden said in a statement Sunday that he has been in touch with officials in affected states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Delaware, and that he had directed his administration “to help with immediate needs and long-term rebuilding.”  Biden said: “While we are still assessing the full extent of the damage, we know families across America are mourning the loss of loved ones, desperately waiting for news of others fighting for their lives, and sorting through the rubble of their homes and businesses. There’s nothing we can do to heal the hole left in the hearts of far too many families who lost loved ones this weekend, but we will be there every step of the way as they rebuild and recover.”

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