More than 70,000 people are without power in Arkansas after at least one large, fast-moving tornado ripped through the Little Rock metro area Friday afternoon, causing extensive damage.
The tornado, which was confirmed at about 2:25 p.m., touched down quickly amid a powerful storm surge across the state and destroyed homes and vehicles as it moved through Little Rock. There had been multiple storm and weather warnings in the state, according to KTHV, a local CBS affiliate.
Hospitals in the area are bracing for an influx of patients. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has declared a mass casualty event, and Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services has estimated upwards of 600 injuries in the area, KTHV reported.
Students sheltered in place as the catastrophic storm barreled through.
Video on social media captured the tornado as it moved through Little Rock.
— Sean (@_spcanady) March 31, 2023
Other footage showed its aftermath.
— JRD (@xJRD_) March 31, 2023
The storm is part of a wide path of severe weather spanning much of the Midwest. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch on Friday afternoon spanning 12 states and stretching from eastern Texas all the way north to Chicago.