Friday 20 April 2018

Two die as storms batter Arkansas

People gather to help with clean-up efforts at a farm that was severely damaged by a tornado. (AP)
People gather to help with clean-up efforts at a farm that was severely damaged by a tornado. (AP)

Tornadoes and storms ripping through several central states in the US have killed two people and injured dozens, officials say.

Meanwhile, a tropical storm has affected the Carolinas in the South east, and wintry weather hit parts of Colorado in the Mountain West.

Two people died from storms in south-western Arkansas, KSLA-TV reported, citing the Howard County Sheriff's Office.

Howard County Sheriff Brian McJunkins said the victims lived in adjoining mobile homes and that two other people were critically injured.

In the small town of Van in north-east Texas, about two dozen people were injured and some homes were destroyed after a severe storm struck, an emergency management official said .

The storm that the National Weather Service said likely produced a tornado hit the east side of Van Zandt County and the city of Van on Sunday evening.

Chuck Allen, the Van Zandt County fire marshal and emergency management coordinator, said that approximately 26 patients were transported to hospitals after a triage area was established at a church.

The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear. About 30% of the city suffered some kind of damage, he said.

"Damages range from completely destroyed homes, damaged homes, to trees and power lines down," Mr Allen added.

The storm was part of severe weather that stretched across North Texas on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, another likely tornado ripped roofs off buildings and damaged trees near Denton, about 40 miles north west of Dallas, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Bradshaw. There were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities.

The area also experienced torrential rains that led to widespread flash flooding. Authorities in Denton County said on Sunday that two groups of people had to be airlifted by helicopters to safety.

Tornadoes were also reported in central Iowa, where a roof was ripped off a high school, and in eastern South Dakota, where a twister damaged the small town of Delmont and injured at least nine people.

The town about 90 miles southwest of Sioux Falls had no water, power or phones, South Dakota Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Kristi Turman said. The 200-plus residents were asked to leave for safety reasons.

On Sunday morning, Tropical Storm Ana made landfall near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and was downgraded to a tropical depression by Sunday afternoon.

Further north, late-season snow fell in parts of the Rockies, western Nebraska and western South Dakota.

Press Association

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