Tornado injures at least 600 as it tears through Arkansas capital


Residents mill about after severe storm swept through Little Rock, Arkansas, on Friday (Picture: AP)

A massive tornado ripped through the capital of Arkansas and the surrounding region and hurt at least 600 people.

The ‘catastrophic’ twister descended upon Little Rock around 2.25pm on Friday in the vicinity of Reservoir Road and continued onto Jacksonville. It obliterated roofs and homes, flipped vehicles and left debris scattered in its path of destruction.

Local emergency medical service officials estimated that at least 600 people were injured, according to THV11 Digital. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences declared a mass casualty event and numerous hospitals in Little Rock saw a surge in patients.

As of 3.40pm, officials confirmed at least two twisters.

A video shot from Baptist Health Medical Center and shared on Twitter showed a gigantic gray tornado formation making its way across Little Rock.

The National Weather Service confirmed a ‘large and destructive tornado’ moved through the Little Rock and North Little Rock neighborhoods and business districts. It put more than 350,000 people at risk.

Close to 94,000 homes were left without power in central Arkansas and more than 54,000 residences were powerless in Pulaski County.

Mayor Frank Scott said he was in communication with Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who activated the state National Guard shortly after 4pm. They will ‘spare no resource to assist with response and recovery efforts for Arkansans impacted’, Sanders said.

A car is upturned in a Kroger parking lot after a severe storm swept through Little Rock, Arkansas, on Friday (Picture: AP)
A building is damaged after a severe storm swept through Little Rock, Arkansas, on Friday (Picture: AP)

At least one tornado devastated the Little Rock area exactly a week after deadly twisters tore through Mississippi and killed at least 21 people. Last Friday, a mother who went to a hospital to give birth to a son lost her 2-year-old daughter whom she left with her parents at a Silver City mobile home that was in a tornado’s path.

Eight workers at Chuck’s Dairy Bar in Rolling Fork were much luckier that day – they survived a twister that blasted the diner to pieces by taking refuge inside a walk-in refrigerator.

At least 20 states were under warnings of severe weather outbreak with tornadoes.

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