Several states ravaged by deadly tornadoes could see more twisters this week

Apr 3, 2023, 6:13 PM

People work to remove a tree that fell onto a home, in the aftermath of a tornado in Little Rock, A...

People work to remove a tree that fell onto a home, in the aftermath of a tornado in Little Rock, Arkansas, Sunday. (Cheney Orr/Reuters via CNN)

(Cheney Orr/Reuters via CNN)

(CNN) — Parts of the Midwest and South devastated by catastrophic tornadoes will have almost no time to recover before another round of dangerous storms takes aim at hard-hit areas.

At least 32 people were killed after an onslaught of tornado-spawning storms Friday obliterated houses, ripped roofs off buildings, wiped out power and prompted governors to announce disaster declarations.

At least 50 confirmed tornadoes touched down in several states in the South and Midwest.

Now, some of those same areas ravaged by twisters — including central Arkansas, eastern Iowa and northern Illinois — will see another round of storms Tuesday threatening more tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

Some areas in the South already saw high winds Monday afternoon, with nearly 20 storm reports across southern Georgia, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. There were two tornado reports in southeastern Alabama and two hail reports in southwestern Georgia, while high winds impacted regions in all three states — including Decatur, Georgia, which reported a powerful wind gust of 79 mph.

And while there will be a brief lull in the harsh weather Monday night and early Tuesday, a new storm system will bring fresh woes Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, putting more than 45 million people from Dallas to Milwaukee under threats of some kind of severe storm.

More than three million people are under a moderate risk for severe storms on Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday, in areas including Springfield, Missouri, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Other cities that could see storms include St. Louis, Des Moines and Little Rock, Arkansas, which was ravaged by a violent tornado Friday.

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk — a Level 4 out of 5 — for southern Missouri, northwestern Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma, saying the possibility was rising that those areas see “rare and dangerous overnight tornadoes and damaging winds” into Wednesday.

A Level 4 risk means long-lived, “widespread and intense” storms are likely.

The same risk also stands for parts of Iowa, Illinois and northern Missouri for Tuesday afternoon and into Wednesday.

“Both afternoon and overnight potential will exist across various regions, including the risk of dangerous nighttime tornadoes,” the prediction center warned about Tuesday’s storms.

It’ll take ‘resources beyond our means’ to recover

The city of Wynne, Arkansas — population 8,300 — was virtually “cut in half” by a tornado that sliced the city from west to east, destroying homes and killing at least four people, Mayor Jennifer Hobbs said.

It’ll take “resources beyond our means” to recover, Hobbs told CNN.

The tornado was rated as a powerful EF-3 by the National Weather Service, with estimated wind gusts topping 136 mph.

“We have a lot of families that are completely devastated — have no home at all. No belongings survived,” the mayor said.

Tennessee reported the highest death toll with 15 weather-related fatalities confirmed over the weekend, including 9 deaths in McNairy County alone.

McNairy County Sheriff Guy Buck said the toll could have been much higher if residents had not heeded early warnings and sought out proper shelter.

“Had they not, looking at the devastation that we had, our death toll could have been in the hundreds,” Buck told CNN. “The power of Mother Nature is something not to be underestimated.”

About 30 miles north of Memphis, three Tipton County schools are closed Monday due to either “extensive damage” or a lack of power, school officials said.

In Illinois, four people were killed, including one person who died after the roof of the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere collapsed Friday with more than 200 people gathered inside.

More storm deaths were reported in Indiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Delaware.

What used to be homes now ‘looks like a war zone’

President Joe Biden issued a major disaster declaration for Arkansas ahead of a trip Sunday by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to survey the damage and assess the needs on the ground.

Criswell toured Little Rock, where more than 2,900 structures were impacted when an EF-3 tornado roared through Pulaski and Lonoke counties, whipping estimated peak winds of 165 mph, authorities said.

Many residents were displaced from an apartment building in Little Rock that “literally looks like a war zone,” Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said Sunday.

“From the time our first responders rushed to help their friends and neighbors, to now with the help of volunteers, friends and family, we have rallied as a city to recover and begin to rebuild,” Scott tweeted.

‘Everything we worked for and paid for is gone’

In Covington, Tennessee, an EF-3 tornado tore a large swath of destruction and left roads impassable.

Teresa Blankenship’s property took a direct hit, with the tornado shredding her home and flipping over her brand-new car, CNN affiliate WHBQ reported.

“We’ve lived in this house 44 years. Everything we worked for and paid for is gone,” Blankenship told WHBQ.

She and her husband saw the tornado headed straight for their home and had just enough time to hop into their underground storm shelter.

“I believe it saved our lives,” Blankenship told the station as she stood near the mangled remains of her home.

More than 200 miles away, an EF-2 tornado tore through the area of Readyville, Tennessee, early Saturday morning, ripping the roof off the US Post Office building and destroying the historic Readyville Mill. Numerous homes were also destroyed.

“It looked like a bomb went off,” Rutherford County Mayor Joe Carr said.

In Whiteland, Indiana, residents spent hours Sunday trying to salvage what they could from the wreckage of destroyed homes. They looked for wedding dresses, high school diplomas, keys, wallets and other items.

“We’re trying to go through what we can find, what we can actually pull out of the rooms where the walls have collapsed in,” one resident told CNN affiliate WTHR as he searched through the destroyed relative’s home. “By looking at it, they’re lucky they made it out alive.”

Another Indiana resident described the terrifying moment the storm beat against her home.

“We heard whistles like a train. It was just roaring. Our ears started having a bad pressure; we had to put our hands over our ears. Everybody was running to the basement and we got down there, I heard glass shattering,” one Sullivan resident told WTHR.

“When we came back up, everything was just gone.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


People walk in the rain in Salt Lake City on Aug. 22. More rain and lower temperatures are in the f...

Carter Williams,

Fall-like temperatures forecast for Utah before official season starts

Fall may begin Saturday, but it'll feel more like mid-season in parts of Utah over the next few days as a cold front passes through the state.

1 day ago

Crews work on flood mitigation in Eagle Mountain...

Brittany Tait

Eagle Mountain’s project to reduce flooding threat

After an unseasonably rainy spring, certain neighborhoods in Eagle Mountain witnessed multiple floods. 

2 days ago

A man skateboards with an umbrella as it rains in Salt Lake City on Aug. 22. Utah water officials s...

Carter Williams,

How impactful have this year’s monsoons been for Utah’s water supply?

Utah's monsoon season is slowly winding down, but not before leaving an impact on Utah's reservoirs in various ways.

7 days ago

This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows flooding in Derna, Libya, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 202...

Samy Magdy and Yousef Murad

The flood death toll in eastern Libya’s city of Derna has surpassed 5,100, a health official says

DERNA, Libya (AP) — The death toll from flooding that hit the eastern Libyan city of Derna reached more than 5,000 and was expected to rise further, a local health official said Wednesday, as authorities struggled to get aid to the coastal city where thousands remained missing and tens of thousands were homeless. Aid workers who managed […]

10 days ago

FILE - Tony Berastegui Jr., right, and his sister Giselle Berastegui drink water, July 17, 2023, in...

Associated Press

End may be in sight for Phoenix’s historic heat wave of 110-degree plus weather

The historic heat wave continues in Phoenix, but the end may finally be in sight for residents of Arizona’s largest city.

12 days ago

A satellite image of Hurricane Lee provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration....

Mary Gilbert and Allison Chinchar, CNN

Hurricane Lee will create hazardous conditions along the East Coast

Hurricane Lee remains hundreds of miles east of the Caribbean late Saturday, yet forecasters say the storm’s effects may have an impact on the US Atlantic seaboard as early as this weekend.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Several states ravaged by deadly tornadoes could see more twisters this week