At least 21 dead after tornadoes and storms tear through multiple states

Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 7:59 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 1, 2023 at 8:06 PM EDT
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(CNN) - At least 21 people are dead, multiple people are injured, and damage is widespread after a slew of storms and tornadoes tore across the South and Midwest.

So far, more than 50 preliminary reports of tornadoes were recorded Friday in at least seven states.

A state of emergency was declared and the national guard was activated in hard hit Arkansas, one of the seven states devastated by widespread storms and deadly tornadoes on Friday.

“We heard the the wind and then our dad, he immediately woke up from his nap and told us to go to the bathroom quick,” said Andre, who had his home damaged by a tornado.

At least a dozen tornadoes were reported in Arkansas as homes and businesses were destroyed in the matter of minutes.

“I’ve had the opportunity over the last couple of hours to speak with both the Homeland Security Secretary as well as President Biden who have offered a tremendous amount of support, anything that Arkansas needs,” said Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The mayor of Little Rock said more than 2,000 of his residents were affected by the tornado. He said the impact is devastating.

“There are complete neighborhoods that have been flattened as well as commercial businesses,” said Frank Scott Jr., mayor of Little Rock.

“We don’t know what’s left. All my neighbor’s houses are destroyed,” one person said.

In Northern Illinois, at least one person is dead, and dozens of others injured after the roof of the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere collapsed. A strong line of severe weather moved through the area, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether the storms caused the roof to crumble.

“It’s just really hard to see people and hear people being hurt,” someone said.