Scott: Experts say tornadoes kill, on average, 70 people and injure more than 1,500 every year in this country. Well, it is only the beginning of tornado season and the South has already been rocked by deadly twisters. Shelby Holliday has the story.
Shelby: A dangerous storm system has threatened tens of millions of people across the South and Midwest. A tornado touched down in Mississippi yesterday. Rescue workers dug through debris after a deadly twister tore through the suburbs of Little Rock, Arkansas on Sunday.
David Houge: We’ve got people and dogs going through the rubble and trying to find whoever we can and whatever we can.
Shelby: The powerful twister is being blamed for at least 16 deaths. Dozens more were injured. A three-year-old girl was found 100 feet from her home with a badly damaged hip.
Man: Myself, and several other officers with state police, Mayflower and Faulkner County, are going from house to house, marking, searching what we can.
Shelby: The tornado, which grew up to half-a-mile wide, carved a path of destruction 80 miles long. It tore up everything in its path, including a brand new $14 million school that was set to open this fall.
Thousands of homes and businesses in Arkansas were left without power after the storm. And people in the area are shocked by what their neighborhoods look like now.
Jessica Fortner: It’s unrecognizable. I mean, I don’t recognize it. It looks totally different to me.
Shelby: The twister that tore through the Little Rock area was just one of many tornadoes that rumbled across a wide section of the South and Midwest this weekend. Another big one touched down in northeastern Oklahoma before plowing all the way into Kansas. Residents in Quapaw, Oklahoma say that storm wiped out the town’s warning siren and it never went off.
Sid Smith: The house shook and it was kind of a white funnel heading that way.
Shelby: The tornado killed at least one and injured several others, and it destroyed about 100 hundred homes and businesses. Authorities say they expect roads leading into the town of Quapaw to be closed until all lives are accounted for, power lines are cleared and gas leaks stopped.
From the Philippines, President Obama sent his condolences to the victims of the tornadoes, promising aid for the recovery efforts.
President Obama: Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild as long as it takes.
Shelby: While many in the United States remain on alert for severe weather, communities devastated by the weekend twisters are already looking to the future.
Dale Craven: We’re Americans. We’re resilient. We’re going to snap back, but this is as bad as it gets.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.