Violent US storms kill at least 32 people

by mcardinal

The death toll from a violent storm that whipped up tornadoes in the southern and midwestern regions of the United States rose to at least 32 over the weekend, according to officials and media reports.

In Memphis, Tennessee, two children and an adult were found dead on Saturday after the storm’s heavy winds knocked trees onto several houses, according to the Memphis Police Department.

In Tennessee’s McNairy County, officials reported that an additional two people had died, having reported seven deaths earlier on Saturday, according to local media. The Tennessee Department of Health on Sunday reported that there were an additional three weather-related deaths in three more counties, but did not provide more details.

In Owen County, Indiana, the bodies of a couple were found at a campground in McCormick’s Creek State Park, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Another 15 deaths from the storm, which generated tornadoes in several areas, were earlier reported in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Delaware, Mississippi, and Alabama. Scores of people were injured and many buildings were damaged or destroyed.

U.S. President Joe Biden declared a “major disaster” in Arkansas on Sunday, ordering federal aid to help with the recovery.

The president said in a statement on Sunday afternoon that he and his wife Jill Biden were praying for the people impacted by the weekend storms and ordered relevant federal officials “to help with immediate needs and long-term rebuilding.”

“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,” he said.

The National Storm Prediction Center warned of severe weather on Sunday in parts of north and northeast Texas around Dallas and Fort Worth, including very large hail, significant wind gusts, and a “strong tornado or two.” Dallas Fort Worth International Airport was under a ground-stop order for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon, and flights were delayed as heavy rain, hail, and strong winds hit the area.

Similarly, severe weather, including thunderstorms, was forecast for later this week in much of the Midwest between Chicago and Little Rock, Arkansas, the center said.

Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters