SEE IT: Tornado wreaks havoc in Little Rock, Arkansas
A tornado devastated a suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas, and left approximately 600 people injured Friday afternoon.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado-related emergency for portions of the metro area of Little Rock, stating that a “damaging tornado” was moving through the area.
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The Little Rock Fire Department also reported heavy damage and debris in the western part of the city, and firefighters were performing rescue operations in the area, according to the department’s Facebook page. No fatalities have been reported so far.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center is operating as a Level III mass casualty center and expecting at least 15 to 20 patients from the tornado, spokeswoman Leslie Taylor told the Associated Press. Several people had already been transported to the medical center, but the exact count is unclear.
Nearly 70,000 people in Arkansas were without power on Friday afternoon, according to Poweroutage.us. Another 32,000 were without power in Oklahoma, which borders the state. Approximately 350,000 people were in the tornado’s possible path, according to the weather service.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-AR) signed an executive order to allocate $250,000 from the governor’s disaster response fund to be used in the aftermath of the tornado.
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The disastrous tornado comes as a total of 15 states were under weather alerts in the Midwest and South. More than 85 million people were affected. The storms, which did not all include tornadoes, could have also caused hail and strong wind gusts.
President Joe Biden visited Mississippi on Friday to survey the damage from a different storm and issued a disaster declaration for the state after the string of severe storms left at least 26 dead. It is not clear whether the president has any plans to stop in Arkansas.