US Tornado kills 11 people, including one at Illinois concert

  • By Thomas Mackintosh
  • BBC News

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Watch people sift through trash at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, Illinois

One person was killed and dozens injured after the storm caused a theater roof to collapse in Illinois at a packed heavy metal gig on Friday.

About 260 people were inside the Apollo Theater in Belvidere when the roof collapsed at 19:55 local time (01:05 BST).

Five people are in critical condition, said Fire Chief Shawn Schadle.

Severe tornadoes hit several US states on Friday, killing a total of 11 people.

As well as Illinois, deaths were also reported in Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana and Mississippi.

In the Arkansas state capital of Little Rock, a large tornado tore through the city, overturning cars, tearing off roofs and downing trees.

Extensive damage was also reported in the South and Midwest – Arkansas and Missouri declared states of emergency. Tens of thousands were left without electricity.

More than 40 tornado reports were made in seven states Friday night, according to the U.S. government Storm Prediction Center.

Several flights were delayed or canceled at Chicago O’Hare International Airport as passengers were told to shelter in place due to what it described as “severe weather.”

image source, Good pictures

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Residents of Rolling Fork, Mississippi clean up March 31 following the devastation caused by the tornado.

In Tennessee, Covington Mayor John Hensley urged people “not to drive around” as power lines were downed by storms.

Ms Huckabee Sanders called off the National Guard after what she described as “significant damage” in central Arkansas.

As of 20:30 local time, more than 70,000 people in his state were without power. American Power Outages website.

Friday night’s deadly tornadoes come a week after a rare, long-track twister killed 26 people in Mississippi. President Joe Biden visited the state Friday to pay his respects and pledge federal aid.

The Storm Prediction Center warned in a bulletin that some of the projected tornadoes could track over land for long distances.

Last week’s Mississippi tornado traveled 59 miles (94 km) and lasted about an hour and 10 minutes — an unusually long time for a storm to establish itself. About 2,000 houses have been damaged, officials said.

Additional reporting by Tiffany Wertheimer.

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