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A destructive tornado tore through the central US, causing widespread damage and at least 2 deaths

By Derek Van Dam, Taylor Ward and Travis Caldwell, CNN

Powerful storms tore through the central US on Friday, spawning tornado and destructive wind in the hours of the night.

At least 24 tornadoes were reported across five states – Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee – based on NOAA Hurricane Prediction Center, with officials in Arkansas saying at least two people have died.

And the possibility of more severe weather continues into the weekend as the system moves eastward, stretching from northern Louisiana to southern Ohio early Saturday. Tornado see in the expected area until 6 a.m. ET, and includes cities like Nashville, Memphis, and Shreveport.

At least one person was killed in Monette in northeast Arkansas after a tornado damaged a nursing home Friday, trapping others inside before being rescued. At least 20 people were also injured at the facility, Mayor Bob Blankenship told CNN.

Another person was killed in nearby Leachville, when an adult woman was “in the Dollar General store when the storm hit and they couldn’t get out,” Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook told CNN.

According to Arkansas Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman LaTresha Woodruff, Interstate 555 near the town of Trumann was closed because the vehicle overturned. State officials have been notified that there is damage to the town’s fire department, the EMS facility and a nursing home, Woodruff said.

In the community of Samburg in northwest Tennessee, many structures were damaged, according to officials. The town “has been pretty much flattened,” Judy Faulkner of the Obion County Sheriff’s Office told CNN.

In Illinois, an Amazon warehouse northeast of St. Louis was damaged. A resident told CNN branch KMOV that a family member and staff member were trapped inside, and others inside remained calm and working to get out of the warehouse. Video from the scene shows a massive emergency response.

“It was horrible to see the extent of the damage there and to know someone was inside when that happened,” Edwardsville Police Chief Michael Fillback told KMOV Saturday morning. Police don’t know how many people were in the building at the time of the collapse, Fillback said, nor how many people may still be trapped inside.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency due to the effects of the storm in many counties. Kentucky State Police said at the end of friday, “Although there are no confirmed deaths at this time, there may be a loss of life.”

Serious damage to buildings already clear in parts of southwestern Kentucky, including Graves County Courthouse and the adjoining prison in Mayfield.

A train derailed near Madisonville, Kentucky early Saturday morning as the weather moved through the area, according to a CSX spokesman. There were no reports of injuries to the crew.

The path of a tornado – extending from Arkansas to Kentucky – if verified, is likely to be the longest since 1925.

Along with multiple tornadoes, the storms had generated dozens of reports of wind and hail as of early Saturday.

Additionally, more than 200,000 customers were left without power across six states as of 3 a.m. Saturday, according to poweroutage.us

Placing a weather warning for Friday from Arkansas to Indiana, the severity of the storms is expected to subside as the day continues, with the threat greatest in the early morning hours.

Much of the eastern US will be affected by rain Saturday night. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strong to severe thunderstorms are possible isolated from the Ohio Valley and Tennessee into the northern Gulf States. Wind gusts, hail and tornadoes are still possible.

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CNN’s Joe Sutton, Andy Rose, Dave Alsup, Raja Razek and Amy Simonson contributed to this report.

https://kesq.com/news/2021/12/11/a-destructive-line-of-tornadoes-tears-across-central-us-causing-widespread-damage-and-at-least-2-deaths/ A destructive tornado tore through the central US, causing widespread damage and at least 2 deaths

DUSTIN JONES

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