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11 people killed as Tornadoes swipe across US Midwest and South

Tornadoes that tore through parts of the South and Midwest killed at least 11 people, collapsed the roof of a packed theater during a heavy metal concert in Illinois, and left small towns and big cities throughout the region bewildered Saturday by the damage.

Possibly dozens of tornadoes touched down into the night across at least seven states, laying waste to homes and businesses and splintering trees, as part of a sprawling storm system that also brought wildfires to the southern Plains and blizzard conditions to the Upper Midwest.

Tens of thousands lost power as the storms smothered a swath of the country home to some 85 million people. The dead included four in the small town of Wynne, Arkansas, and three in Sullivan, Indiana. Other deaths were reported in Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi and the Little Rock area.

Stunned residents of Wynne, a community of about 8,000 people 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Memphis, Tennessee, woke Saturday to find the high school’s roof shredded and its windows blown out. Huge trees lay on the ground, their stumps reduced to nubs. Broken walls, windows and roofs pocked homes and businesses.

“I’m sad that my town has been hit so hard,” said Heidi Jenkins, a salon owner. “Our school is gone, my church is gone. I’m sad for all the people who lost their homes.”

Recovery was already underway, with workers using chain saws to cut fallen trees and bulldozers moving material from shattered structures. Utility trucks worked to restore power. Groups of volunteers gathered to plan their day.

As Jenkins spoke with a reporter, a passerby in a car yelled, “Do y’all want some fried pies?”

In Belvidere, Illinois, a tornado collapsed the roof of the Apollo Theatre as 260 people attended a heavy metal concert, killing one person and injuring 28, five of them severely, officials said.

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the Publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online newspaper in Government, Politics, Sport, Entertainment and Religion. Prevail Inegbenose studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. He is an experienced journalist with 16 years of active and practical journalism. Prevail Inegbenose is the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja - Nigeria. Tel: 08039564796.

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