US tornadoes: At least six dead after winds rip through southern and Midwest states
At least six people have been killed after a tornado ripped through including US states in Arkansas and Illinois.
One person died while more than two dozen were left injured in the Little Rock area, Arkansas authorities said.
The town of Wynne in northeastern Arkansas was also devastated, and officials reported two people had died, along with destroyed homes and people trapped in the debris. Two other fatalities were reported in Sullivan County Indiana.
Authorities said a theatre roof collapsed during a tornado in Belvidere, Illinois, killing one person and injuring 28.
The Belvidere Police Department said the collapse occurred as a heavy storm rolled through the area and that calls began coming in at 7.48 pm.
The collapse occurred at the Apollo Theatre during a heavy metal concert in the town located about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Chicago.
Belvidere Fire Department Chief Shawn Schadle said 260 people were in the venue. He said first responders also rescued someone from an elevator and had to grapple with downed power lines outside the theatre.
Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody described the scene after the collapse as “chaos, absolute chaos.”
Gabrielle Lewellyn had just entered the theatre when a portion of the ceiling collapsed.
“I was there within a minute before it came down,” she told WTVO-TV. “The winds, when I was walking up to the building, it went like from zero to a thousand within five seconds.”
There were more confirmed twisters in Iowa and wind-whipped grass fires blazed in Oklahoma, as the storm system threatened a broad swath of the country home to some 85 million people.
In Illinois, Ben Wagner, chief radar operator for the Woodford County Emergency Management Agency, said hail broke windows on cars and buildings in the area of Roanoke, northeast of Peoria. More than 109,000 customers had lost power in the state as of Friday night.
More outages were reported in Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas.