Midwest braces for more severe weather after tornadoes cause widespread damage

The death toll from a violent storm that caused tornadoes in the southern and midwestern regions of the United States over the weekend has risen to 32, according to reports.

The US National Weather Service said the damage was so widespread it would take days to reach all affected areas.

The mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas’s capital, said more than 2,100 homes and businesses had been damaged in the city, but the full extent of the damage is still being assessed.

At least one person was killed in the area and more than two dozen were hurt, some critically, Little Rock authorities added.

The twisters sheared roofs and walls from many buildings, flipped over vehicles and downed trees and power lines in Little Rock and large areas east and northeast of the state capital, officials said.

US President Joe Biden declared a “major disaster” in Arkansas on Sunday, ordering federal aid to help with the recovery.

The president said in a statement that he and wife Jill Biden were praying for the people impacted by the weekend storms and ordered relevant federal officials “to help with immediate needs and long-term rebuilding.”

“We know families across America are mourning the loss of loved ones, desperately waiting for news of others fighting for their lives, and sorting through the rubble of their homes and businesses,” he said.

The National Storm Prediction Center warned of severe weather on Sunday in parts of north and northeast Texas around Dallas and Fort Worth, including very large hail, significant wind gusts and a “strong tornado or two.” 

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport was under a ground-stop order for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon, and flights were delayed as heavy rain, hail and strong winds hit the area.

Similarly severe weather, including thunderstorms, is forecast for later this week in much of the Midwest between Chicago and Little Rock, Arkansas.