After a monster storm system with multiple tornadoes tore through the South and Midwest states in the US on Friday, the big clean-up has begun.

At least 26 people were killed as homes were shredded and shopping centres demolished in Arkansas. Confirmed or suspected tornadoes in at least eight states destroyed homes and businesses, splintered trees and laid waste to neighbourhoods across a broad swath of the country. 

The dead included at least nine in one Tennessee county, four in the small town of Wynne, Arkansas, three in Sullivan, Indiana, and four in Illinois.

Other deaths from the storms that hit Friday night into Saturday were reported in Alabama and Mississippi, along with one near Little Rock, Arkansas, where city officials said more than 2,600 buildings were in a tornado’s path.

Ashley Macmillan said she, her husband and their children huddled with their dogs in a small bathroom as a tornado passed, “praying and saying goodbye to each other, because we thought we were dead”.  A falling tree seriously damaged their home, but they were unhurt.

“We could feel the house shaking, we could hear loud noises, dishes rattling. And then it just got calm,” she said.

The governor of Arkansas declared a state of emergency on Friday, which activated statewide assistance and help from the National Guard.

The storm happened a week after tornadoes ripped through Mississippi, killing 26 people.


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