Tornado updates: At least 11 dead, dozens injured across 5 states

At least 11 people are dead across five states and dozens have been hospitalized after a tornado outbreak moved through the Midwest and South on Friday night, local officials told ABC News.

Dozens of tornadoes were reported across Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, but the exact number of confirmed tornadoes has yet to be verified. More than 28 million people across the South and Midwest were under a tornado watch going into Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Of the 11 people who have died, five were in Arkansas, three died in Indiana, one died in Illinois, one died in Alabama and one died in Mississippi, according to officials.

PHOTO: A tornado passes through Little Rock, Arkansas, Mar.  31, 2023.

A tornado passes through Little Rock, Arkansas, Mar. 31, 2023.

Aaron Borders

PHOTO: A rainbow shines amidst the remains of a neighborhood damaged by a tornado on March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A rainbow shines amidst the remains of a neighborhood damaged by a tornado on March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Benjamin Krain/Getty Images

There were 57 tornado reports across a huge area spanning seven states over the past 24 hours. The number of tornado reports continues to rise as of Saturday morning, as the storm threat is ongoing.

Arkansas

At least one person died and more than 50 people across Pulaski County, Arkansas, have been hospitalized, with that number expected to rise, Madeline Roberts, a spokeswoman for the county’s emergency management agency, told ABC News. She did not have information on the conditions of those who have been injured.

Four people have been pronounced dead in the northeastern Arkansas city of Wynne, which took a direct hit from a tornado. Miles Kimble, the coroner of neighboring St. Francis County, who was assisting in Wynne, confirmed the death toll to ABC News.

PHOTO: Debris covers the ground around Wynne High school in Wynne, Ark., on April 1, 2023.

Debris covers the ground around Wynne High school in Wynne, Ark., on April 1, 2023.

Adrian Sainz/AP

PHOTO: A firefighter checks homes for injured residents in the Walnut Ridge neighborhood after a tornado damaged hundreds of homes and buildings on March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A firefighter checks homes for injured residents in the Walnut Ridge neighborhood after a tornado damaged hundreds of homes and buildings on March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Benjamin Krain/Getty Images

PHOTO: An apartment complex on Cantrell Road was severely damaged by a tornado Friday, March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Ark.

An apartment complex on Cantrell Road was severely damaged by a tornado Friday, March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Ark.

Stephen Swofford/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

A tornado emergency had been issued for metro Little Rock, Arkansas, on Friday afternoon, due to the threat of a damaging tornado and quarter-sized hail.

Little Rock Major Frank Scott Jr. said 24 people have been hospitalized, and that he’s “not aware of any fatalities in Little Rock at this time.”

“Property damage is extensive and we are still responding,” he said tweeted.

According to Scott, 2,100 residents were affected in western and southern Little Rock and between 27,000 to 30,000 homes were without power on Saturday.

“Many folks have been displaced and looking for a shelter. We’re working towards that, again, if someone’s in need of shelter, we’re asking you to go to Hall High School,” Scott said.

PHOTO: A woman is carried out of a fire station to an ambulance after a tornado tore through west Little Rock, Ark., on March 31, 2023.

A woman is carried out of a fire station to an ambulance after a tornado tore through west Little Rock, Ark., on March 31, 2023.

Staci Vandagriff/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

PHOTO: Kris French (C) and his family search through rubble after a tornado damaged hundreds of homes and buildings on March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Kris French (C) and his family search through rubble for a video recorder they think captured a direct tornado strike to their business, Champs Car Wash, after a tornado damaged hundreds of homes and buildings on March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Arkansas .

Benjamin Krain/Getty Images

PHOTO: A woman collects belongings from a family members home after the roof was ripped off from a tornado on Oakview Drive in North Little Rock, Ark., on March 31, 2023.

A woman collects belongings from a family members home after the roof was ripped off from a tornado on Oakview Drive in North Little Rock, Ark., on March 31, 2023.

Thomas Metthe/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

Capt. Jacob Lear-Sadowsky with the Little Rock Fire Department told ABC News earlier that there were a “significant” number of injuries from the storm.

One hospital in the area told ABC News that it’s on standby for a potential “influx of patients” but didn’t have a number of those admitted yet.

PHOTO: The damaged interior of the store after a tornado swept through Little Rock, Ark., Mar.  31, 2023.

The damaged interior of the store after a tornado swept through Little Rock, Ark., Mar. 31, 2023.

Andrew Demillo/AP

PHOTO: A car is upturned in a Kroger parking lot after a tornado swept through Little Rock, Ark., March 31, 2023.

A car is upturned in a Kroger parking lot after a tornado swept through Little Rock, Ark., March 31, 2023.

Andrew Demillo/AP

Damage is centered in West Little Rock, where “multiple structures,” both commercial and residential, have been destroyed, Lear-Sadowsky said. Power lines and trees are also downed and cars have been flipped over due to the storm.

The city of Little Rock urged on Twitter that residents should remain in their homes“so emergency personnel can get to work.

PHOTO: A home is damaged and trees are down after a tornado swept through Little Rock, Ark., on March 31, 2023.

A home is damaged and trees are down after a tornado swept through Little Rock, Ark., on March 31, 2023.

Andrew Demillo/AP

PHOTO: A home is damaged and trees are down after a tornado swept through Little Rock, Ark., on March 31, 2023.

A home is damaged and trees are down after a tornado swept through Little Rock, Ark., on March 31, 2023.

Andrew Demillo/AP

As the powerful supercell moved eastward, a “confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado” was located around 5:13 pm local time near Earle, Arkansas, west of Memphis, the NWS said, calling it a “life-threatening situation.” A “catastrophic” tornado also moved through the metro area of ​​Little Rock, Arkansas, the NWS confirmed.

Significant damage is being reported in nearby Wynne, Arkansas, located roughly 50 miles west of Memphis. The city’s mayor, Jennifer Hobbs, told ABC News they have experienced “major damage” and that she believes people are trapped but could not estimate a number.

“We’re still trying to get crews out and make sure we don’t have people trapped and continue to assess the damage,” Hobbs said, adding that the tornado split the city of more than 8,000 people in half.

“We had no idea that it would be this much damage that we’re seeing right now at this point,” Latricia Woodruff, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management, told ABC News Live Prime on Friday about the tornado activity in the state. “There’s a lot of homes that have been damaged, other structures. We heard about a fire station here in Little Rock that had some damage to it, as well.”

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency due to Friday’s severe weather and activated the National Guard to assist state and local law enforcement. She said there was “significant damage” in central Arkansas due to the storm.

“Arkansans must continue to stay weather aware as storms are continuing to move through,” Sanders tweeted.

Sanders spoke with President Joe Biden on Saturday, saying Biden and Homeland Security have “offered a tremendous amount of support.”

“Anything that Arkansas needs, they have assured us that those resources will be here and on the ground,” she said during a press conference Saturday.

PHOTO: A family evacuates their Walnut Ridge neighborhood on March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A family evacuates their Walnut Ridge neighborhood on March 31, 2023, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Benjamin Krain/Getty Images

PHOTO: Then from 5 pm to 10 pm these long-track, potentially violent tornadoes EF4 to EF5 could develop from Iowa to IL, MO, TN, AR and MS

Then from 5 pm to 10 pm these long-track, potentially violent tornadoes EF4 to EF5 could develop from Iowa to IL, MO, TN, AR and MS

ABC News

1 dead after the roof of the Illinois theater collapsed

In Illinois, a 50-year-old man died after a roof collapsed at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, officials said, and at least 28 more were transported to the hospital.

Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle could not immediately confirm the cause of the roof’s collapse but said officials were notified by the National Weather Service of a tornado warning at 7:45 pm local time. The roof collapsed about 10 minutes later, he said.

PHOTO: A house is damaged by fallen trees on West Hurlbut Avenue near where the roof of the Apollo Theater collapsed during a tornado, on April 1, 2023, in Belvidere, Ill.

A house is damaged by fallen trees on West Hurlbut Avenue near where the roof of the Apollo Theater collapsed during a tornado, on April 1, 2023, in Belvidere, Ill. Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said 260 people were in the venue. Responders also rescued someone from an elevator and had to deal with downed power lines outside the theater.

Erin Hooley/AP

The tornado emergencies come as rare high-risk tornado warnings were issued Friday for parts of six states — Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee — as a major storm leaves millions in the Heartland at risk for severe weather, including potentially violent, long-track tornadoes.

Bidens visited Rolling Fork, Mississippi, hit by storms last weekend

Among those at risk for tornadoes was an area that was hit by deadly storms last weekend. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited one of those locations — Rolling Fork, Mississippi — on Friday.

“Jill and I are here to show our support,” Biden said during remarks in the town on Friday, standing amid the destruction. “I know there’s a lot of pain and it’s hard to believe in a moment like this, this community is going to be rebuilt, and rebuilt back better than it was before.”

Nearly two dozen people were killed in the storms.

Saturday forecast as storm system moves into Northeast

The storm system moves into the Northeast on Saturday with some severe weather possible for Pennsylvania and upstate New York and even northern New Jersey.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued to parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York until 6 pm ET for nearly 10 million people, with damaging winds up to 70 mph being the biggest threat. Large hail up to 1.5 inches and an isolated tornado are also possible, according to meteorologists.

The wind threat was upgraded for Saturday into the evening, with all the boroughs of New York City, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at an increased risk of damaging wind.

There is a wintry part to the storm, with blizzard warnings issued for South Dakota and Minnesota, where more than half a foot of snow and 45 mph wind gusts are possible. Whiteout conditions are expected. A winter storm warning stretches from Nebraska to Minneapolis and into Wisconsin and Michigan, where more than a foot of snow is possible.

ABC News’ Will McDuffie, Jianna Cousin, Matt Foster, Robinson Perez and Kenton Gewecke contributed to this report.

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