(CNN) — Parts of the Midwest and South devastated by catastrophic tornadoes will have almost no time to recover before another round of dangerous storms takes aim at hard-hit areas.
At least 32 people were killed after an onslaught of tornado-spawning storms Friday obliterated houses, ripped roofs off buildings, wiped out power and prompted governors to announce disaster declarations.
At least 50 confirmed tornadoes touched down in several states in the South and Midwest.
Now, some of those same areas ravaged by twisters — including central Arkansas, eastern Iowa, and northern Illinois — will see another round of storms Tuesday threatening more tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.
“There is a Level 4 of 5 risk across parts of Iowa, Missouri and Illinois where strong tornadoes are possible, including some of the areas hit on Friday,” CNN Meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
A Level 4 risk means long-lived, “widespread and intense” storms are likely.
A tornado watch is in effect until 5 p.m. ET Monday for parts of southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said.
The watch covers more than 1 million people and includes Tallahassee, Florida. A few tornadoes are possible, along with large hail and damaging wind gusts of up to 70 mph.
It’ll take ‘resources beyond our means’ to recover
The city of Wynne, Arkansas — population 8,300 — was virtually “cut in half” by a tornado that sliced the city from west to east, destroying homes and killing at least four people, Mayor Jennifer Hobbs said.
It’ll take “resources beyond our means” to recover, Hobbs told CNN.
The tornado was rated as a powerful EF-3 by the National Weather Service, with estimated wind gusts topping 136 mph.
“We have a lot of families that are completely devastated — have no home at all. No belongings survived,” the mayor said.
Tennessee reported the highest death toll with 15 weather-related fatalities confirmed over the weekend, including 9 deaths in McNairy County alone.
McNairy County Sheriff Guy Buck said the toll could have been much higher if residents had not heeded early warnings and sought out proper shelter.
“Had they not, looking at the devastation that we had, our death toll could have been in the hundreds,” Buck told CNN. “The power of Mother Nature is something not to be underestimated.”
About 30 miles north of Memphis, three Tipton County schools are closed Monday due to either “extensive damage” or a lack of power, school officials said.
In Illinois, four people were killed, including one person who died after the roof of the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere collapsed Friday with more than 200 people gathered inside.
More storm deaths were reported in Indiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Delaware.
What used to be homes now ‘looks like a war zone’
President Joe Biden issued a major disaster declaration for Arkansas ahead of a trip Sunday by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to survey the damage and assess the needs on the ground.
Criswell toured Little Rock, where more than 2,900 structures were impacted when an EF-3 tornado roared through Pulaski and Lonoke counties, whipping estimated peak winds of 165 mph, authorities said.
Many residents were displaced from an apartment building in Little Rock that “literally looks like a war zone,” Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said Sunday.
“From the time our first responders rushed to help their friends and neighbors, to now with the help of volunteers, friends and family, we have rallied as a city to recover and begin to rebuild,” Scott tweeted.
‘Everything we worked for and paid for is gone’
In Covington, Tennessee, an EF-3 tornado tore a large swath of destruction and left roads impassable.
Teresa Blankenship’s property took a direct hit, with the tornado shredding her home and flipping over her brand-new car, CNN affiliate WHBQ reported.
“We’ve lived in this house 44 years. Everything we worked for and paid for is gone,” Blankenship told WHBQ.
She and her husband saw the tornado headed straight for their home and had just enough time to hop into their underground storm shelter.
“I believe it saved our lives,” Blankenship told the station as she stood near the mangled remains of her home.
More than 200 miles away, an EF-2 tornado tore through the area of Readyville, Tennessee, early Saturday morning, ripping the roof off the US Post Office building and destroying the historic Readyville Mill. Numerous homes were also destroyed.
“It looked like a bomb went off,” Rutherford County Mayor Joe Carr said.
In Whiteland, Indiana, residents spent hours Sunday trying to salvage what they could from the wreckage of destroyed homes. They looked for wedding dresses, high school diplomas, keys, wallets and other items.
“We’re trying to go through what we can find, what we can actually pull out of the rooms where the walls have collapsed in,” one resident told CNN affiliate WTHR as he searched through the destroyed relative’s home. “By looking at it, they’re lucky they made it out alive.”
Another Indiana resident described the terrifying moment the storm beat against her home.
“We heard whistles like a train. It was just roaring. Our ears started having a bad pressure; we had to put our hands over our ears. Everybody was running to the basement and we got down there, I heard glass shattering,” one Sullivan resident told WTHR.
“When we came back up, everything was just gone.”
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