The death toll has risen to to 32 and more dangerous weather has been predicted this week for a broad swath of the South and Midwest, which was already in ruin Sunday as a result of a surge of storms that fueled confirmed or suspected tornadoes in at least 11 states.
Nine of Tennessee’s 15 recorded deaths occurred in McNairy County, about 100 miles east of Memphis. Four were in the same structure, one of at least 72 destroyed across the county, Mayor Larry Smith said.
According to the National Weather Service, nearly 100 locations reported tornadoes on Friday and Saturday.
Severe weather reports over the weekend
Tornado sightings or wind damage and hail recorded by trained observers Friday and Saturday:
From March through May, spring’s severe weather season ramps up, according to the National Weather Service. Residents in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee reported severe weather last weekend as well.
Before and after: Aerial views of destruction in Wynne, Arkansas
Tornadoes struck Wynne, Arkansas, on Friday, and 28 people sought medical attention at a nearby hospital. The National Weather Service verified in a preliminary survey that the three tornadoes that ripped through the area were EF-3s.
An EF-3 tornado is described as having wind speeds from 136 to 165 mph and is classified as “strong” and “severe,” according to the weather service.
Overview of the EF-3 tornado in Wynne
Homes and businesses were destroyed in the town, population 8,000, about 50 miles west of Memphis.
Wynne High School’s roof was ripped off and windows were blasted out.
“Widespread damage in Wynne,” Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted. “I’ve been in touch with local officials for updates and to direct state resources. Please follow the direction of local authorities. Praying for the safety of all Arkansans who are in the path of these storms.”
The Associated Press reported that Wynne City Councilmember Lisa Powell Carter said the city was without power and roads were full of debris.
CONTRIBUTING John Bacon, Katherine Burgess and Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY; Omer Yusuf, Memphis Commercial Appeal