Little Rock: Emergency declared by tornado
A monster storm system tore through the South and Midwest on Friday, spawning deadly tornadoes that shredded homes and shopping centers, overturned vehicles and uprooted trees as people raced for shelter.
At least 24 injured people have been taken to hospital after a "devastating" tornado hit Little Rock, Arkansas, according to the city's mayor.
The Little Rock tornado tore first through neighborhoods in the western part of the city and shredded a small shopping center that included a Kroger grocery store. It then crossed the Arkansas River into North Little Rock and surrounding cities, where widespread damage was reported to homes, businesses and vehicles.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr., who announced that he was requesting assistance from the National Guard, tweeted in the evening that officials were aware of 24 people who had been hospitalized in the city.
"Property damage is extensive and we are still responding," he said.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders activated 100 members of the Arkansas National Guard to help local authorities respond to the damage throughout the state.
In Little Rock, resident Niki Scott took cover in the bathroom after her husband called to say a tornado was headed her way. She could hear glass shattering as the tornado roared past, and emerged afterward to find that her house was one of the few on her street that didn't have a tree fall on it.
More than 85 million people were under weather advisories Friday as the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center forecast an unusually large outbreak of thunderstorms with the potential to cause hail, damaging wind gusts and strong tornadoes that could move for long distances over the ground.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said 24 people have been hospitalized and that he is "not aware of any fatalities in Little Rock at this time."
According to Little Rock TV reports, there were a number of injuries. More than 61,500 power outages were reported in Pulaski County at one time.
In a Friday night news conference Sanders praised first responders.
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