Deadly Tornadoes, Storms Ravage Midwest; Concert Hall’s Roof Collapses During Show | JP


Dozens of deadly tornadoes and powerful storms ravaged the Midwest and South late Friday and into the wee hours of Saturday, including one that collapsed the roof of an Illinois concert hall where hundreds were gathered for a performance.

At least five people were killed and dozens injured in the violent weather, which tore through several states just a week after 26 people were killed in the South by tornadoes and storms. Nearly two dozen tornadoes were reported late Friday and early Saturday in Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Mississippi.

In Belvidere, Illinois, more than 200 people were gathered inside the Apollo Theatre Friday night for a performance by bands Revocation, Morbid Angel, and Skeletal Remains. The concert had been underway for a half hour when the building’s roof collapsed, leaving one person dead and 28 injured, according to the city’s fire chief. The collapse was apparently caused by powerful winds and hail, according to the National Weather Service.

“We ask anyone who is still traveling to the venue to please seek shelter and stay safe,” Morbid Angel said in a statement posted on social media. “We are currently sheltering in place, and want to extend our support and hope that everyone at the show tonight is safe. Right now our focus is on making sure everyone in the venue tonight is ok and gets home.”

Three people were reported killed in Arkansas, including two in Wynne and one in North Little Rock. Another two were killed in Indiana late Friday by a powerful storm that wrecked homes and a volunteer fire department near Sullivan.

(Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

At least a dozen tornadoes were reported in Arkansas alone, where the small city of Wynne was “basically cut in half by damage from east to west,” Mayor Jennifer Hobbs told CNN Friday evening. Homes in the town of 8,000 were leveled, and debris was strewn on fields and streets.


Just one week ago, a spate of deadly storms ripped through Arkansas and Mississippi killing more than two dozen people. The town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, was devastated by the storms, which packed 170-mph winds.

More tornadoes were expected Saturday in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

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