1 dead in Arkansas, roof collapses at Illinois Amazon facility as severe weather strikes parts of U.S.

At least one person died and several people were injured following widespread reports of tornadoes and severe weather Friday night and early Saturday in parts of the US.

Tornado warnings issued on Friday covered parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. Nearly 180,000 utility customers in those five states were without power early Saturday morning.

The storms were reported to have caused a partial roof collapse at an Amazon facility in Illinois, destruction at an Arkansas nursing home, and numerous collapses and damage reports.

One person was killed and five seriously injured when an apparent tornado struck the Monette Manor Nursing Home in Monette, Arkansas, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said. He initially said that two people had died.

In Edwardsville, Illinois, outside of St. Louis, there were multiple injuries after a 100-foot portion of a wall partially collapsed at an Amazon facility, officials with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Emergency said. Edwardsville Fire Department.

The fire department said no deaths had been confirmed.

Edwardsville police said a search and rescue operation was underway.

An Amazon distribution center partially collapsed after being hit by a tornado on December 10, 2021 in Edwardsville, Ill.Robert Cohen / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Herb Simmons, the director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency who spoke to NBC News from the scene, said his agency received a mutual aid call at 8:59 p.m.

“We are in rescue mode right now,” he said.

Simmons said the site of the partial collapse is in the Amazon compound, but he did not know what building it was or how many people were believed to be trapped inside.

He added that it was going to be a “long process” to determine exactly what had happened.

Amazon spokesman Richard Rocha said the company was assessing the situation.

“The safety and well-being of our employees and partners is our top priority at this time,” he said.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center as a result of the severe weather. There have been multiple unconfirmed reports of tornadoes, the emergency management agency said.

Loss of ‘expected’ life

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency overnight, citing probable tornado damage. The Kentucky National Guard was activated as part of the Governor’s response.

“This will be one of the worst tornado damage we’ve seen in a long time,” Beshear said in a video posted on Twitter.

Kentucky State Police tweeted early Saturday its Mayfield post was responding to “a severe tornado spanning multiple counties.”

“While no deaths have been confirmed at this time, loss of life is expected,” the department said.

Damages in Tennessee, Missouri

A possible tornado also struck in Samburg, Tennessee, where the local fire department was badly damaged, the Obion County Sheriff’s Office said. It was unclear if there were any injuries.

The National Weather Service also issued a tornado emergency for the Kentucky cities of Madisonville, Earlington and Nortonville. This designation means that “a serious threat to human life is imminent,” that catastrophic damage is likely to occur, or that there is reliable information that a tornado has arrived.

In Missouri, two people were hospitalized, including one with “very serious injuries,” and a third person was injured after structural collapses, said Kyle Gaines of the St. Charles County Ambulance District.

Stormy storms

The National Weather Service warned Friday night that “thunderstorms” were moving from eastern Missouri to Illinois Friday night as part of an unstable weather line moving eastward.

The instability was created when hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico interacted with a cold front, federal meteorologists said.

Extreme weather, including heavy downpours and some flooding, was expected from the Mississippi Valley, which includes many states along the Mississippi River, to the Ohio Valley.

There were 26 unconfirmed reports of tornadoes in five states, according to the National Weather Service.

Confirming that a tornado has landed takes time and often occurs a day or more after the weather event because the National Weather Service uses in-person assessments after the worst weather has passed. The service examines how the trees were uprooted or damaged as part of the process.

Weekend weather systems

Strong weather was expected to affect 35 million Americans this weekend, with heavy snowfall in the Midwest, possible tornadoes in the South and rain in California.

A low pressure system over Central Plains produced up to 2 inches of snow per hour in Minneapolis-St. Paul region on Friday night. “Traveling will be very difficult,” the weather service said. tweeted.

That front was expected to strengthen as it moves over the Great Lakes region on Saturday, bringing with it heavy snow and stormy winds, federal meteorologists said.

Light snowfall and strong winds were expected overnight in Chicago, they said. Rain and high winds were forecast for Detroit, where the National Weather Service warned residents to prepare for potential power outages.

The warm air was expected to move toward the east coast on Saturday, producing record temperatures for the date in some parts of the Mid-Atlantic, federal meteorologists said.

The National Weather Service office covering New York City said high temperatures in 60s were expected.

But spring weather will be short-lived: A cold front was forecast to “sweep across the entire east coast” Saturday night, bringing “sharp temperatures and stormy winds,” the weather service said in a discussion about the forecast. Friday.

California was bracing for rain and snow as a storm was expected to hit the northern half of the state on Saturday and then move south, bringing snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains and even to the peaks in the south. Of California. Rain was forecast from the Bay Area to the border.

Federal meteorologists in Oxnard, California, said up to 2 feet of snow could fall Monday and Tuesday in mountainous locations above 7,000 feet.

The National Weather Service bureau covering Sacramento urged motorists to avoid traveling in the mountains.

The California governor’s Office of Emergency Services said residents across the state should prepare for “widespread moderate to heavy rains, mountain snow, gusty winds and thunderstorms” through at least Tuesday.

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