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Four dead after tornadoes hit US

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At least four people were killed overall on Friday when a string of violent tornadoes tore through various US states.

As a storm in Illinois caused a theater’s roof to fall during a packed heavy metal concert, one person was murdered and numerous others were hurt.

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According to the local fire brigade, some 260 people were inside the Apollo Theater in Belvidere when the roof collapsed at 19:55 local time (01:05 BST).

Five victims, according to fire chief Shawn Schadle, were in critical condition.

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There have been reports of significant damage across the South and Midwest, and Arkansas and Missouri have both declared states of emergency as a result. Many were left without electricity.

A major tornado tore through the Arkansas state capital Little Rock, flipping cars, smashing roofs and toppling trees. Local officials said one person was killed and the city’s mayor reported that at least 24 people were injured.

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The state’s governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, confirmed the deaths of two people in the town of Wynne, some 100 miles (170km) from Little Rock.

More than 40 tornado reports were made across six states on Friday night, according to the US government’s Storm Prediction Center.

Several flights at Chicago O’Hare International Airport were delayed or cancelled as passengers were told to take shelter due to what it described as “severe weather”.

In Tennessee, Covington Mayor Jan Hensley pleaded with people not to “drive around” as power lines had been hit by storms.

The Covington Police Department described the city as “impassable” sharing photos of roads blocked by downed power poles and large trees toppled in front of homes.

Mrs Huckabee Sanders deployed the National Guard after what she described as “significant damage” in central Arkansas.

As of 20:30 local time, more than 70,000 in her state were without electricity, according to the US power outage website.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock said it was expecting at least 15-20 patients.

Baptist Health Medical Center, the state’s biggest hospital, said it had five patients in a critical condition.

The night of deadly tornadoes comes just one week after a rare, long-track twister killed 26 people in Mississippi.

President Joe Biden visited the state on Friday to pay his condolences and promise federal aid.

In a bulletin the Storm Prediction Center warned some of the projected tornadoes could track across the ground for long distances.

The Mississippi tornado last week travelled 59 miles (94km) and lasted about an hour and 10 minutes – an unusually long period of time for a storm to sustain itself. It damaged about 2,000 homes, officials said.

Tornado damage in Arkansas
Image caption,Tornado damage in Arkansas
Debris strewn across a road in Little Rock, Arkansas
Image caption,Debris strewn across a road in Little Rock, Arkansas


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