Several states across the country were without power after strong tornadoes struck the Midwest and South, leaving at least 18 people dead.
The death toll could rise in the coming hours, as emergency services in the states assess damage and find survivors.
According to media reports, seven dead are from Tennessee, five from Arkansas, three from Indiana, and one each from Illinois, Alabama, and Mississippi.
In response, President Biden contacted Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas and the mayors of Little Rock and Wynn, two of the cities hardest hit by the tornadoes, according to the White House statement.
Folks in Rolling Fork say the tornado only lasted about 15 seconds, but Jill and I saw firsthand that the effect was devastating.
13 Americans lost their lives and over 300 homes and businesses were reduced to rubble.
We'll stand with you to rebuild for as long as it takes. pic.twitter.com/dbqkhSIQF8
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 1, 2023
Governor Huckabee mobilized 100 members of the National Guard to respond to the impacts of the tornadoes, and also declared a state of emergency to dedicate state services to search efforts.
I’ve activated the Arkansas National Guard. They will be assisting Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement around the state.
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) March 31, 2023
In northern Illinois, tornadoes caused “absolute chaos” according to Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody’s statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The tornadoes caused the roof of a theater where 260 were attending a concert to collapse, leaving one dead and 28 injured, five of whom were in critical condition, according to the Belvidere Fire Department.
In Indiana, strong winds caused areas of the city of Sullivan to be “unrecognizable,” according to Mayor Clint Lamb.
— Aaron Rigsby (@AaronRigsbyOSC) April 1, 2023
The tornadoes left about 60,000 homes without power in Tennessee and 37,000 in Arkansas, two of the hardest hit states, according to PowerOutage.us.
The National Weather Service reported that tornadoes were reported on Friday nights in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Mississippi, and storm warnings were activated in Georgia and Alabama.