The death toll from a major storm system that has lashed the south-central and eastern US with devastating winds and powerful tornadoes has risen to 18, with dozens of others injured, officials said Saturday.
A spokesperson for the emergency management agency in Tennessee, one of the states hardest hit by storms which have struck since Friday, confirmed seven weather-related fatalities to AFP.
That came on top of 11 deaths reported earlier in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama in the south, and Indiana and Illinois in the Midwest. The storm system on Saturday was bearing down on the US east coast, with thunderstorms, hail and powerful winds predicted through late Sunday.
On Friday, the storm had sent multiple tornadoes — some of exceptional size and power — sweeping through Arkansas, including in the capital Little Rock, where they killed at least five people, the state’s governor said.
Daylight revealed extensive damage, with several homes torn apart, cars overturned, power lines toppled and trees ripped out of the ground.