The death toll from severe thunderstorms in the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic has risen to 31, as authorities warned that extreme weather will probably return early this week.
The victims, whom the department identified as Brett Kincaid, 53, and Wendy Kincaid, 47, of Rossville, Ind., were found after authorities were notified that two campers were missing. An investigation into their deaths is underway. The park is about 40 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
In Memphis, two children and one adult were found dead Saturday after police responded to a call about trees that had fallen on houses, according to Christopher Williams, a police spokesman, who said the deaths were believed to be tied to the storms that had passed through Friday night.
Their deaths bring the number thought to be caused by the storms to at least 31, with scores more injured and extensive damage to property reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to local officials and media outlets.
President Biden on Sunday approved an expedited federal disaster declaration, according to a White House statement.
The administration is working with leaders in Arkansas, Delaware and Illinois, Biden said, and stands ready to help Indiana if it requests federal assistance.
“I’ve directed my team to bring every element of the federal government together to help with immediate needs and long-term rebuilding,” Biden said.
Across the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, residents said the storms flattened homes, brought down trees and power lines, and left debris strewn everywhere. More than 310,000 households in storm-struck regions were without power early Sunday afternoon, according to Poweroutage.us, which tracks reports of outages across the United States. That included nearly 92,000 customers in Pennsylvania and more than 50,000 in Ohio.
In Tennessee, the hardest-hit state, at least 15 people were killed, according to Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Maggie Hannan. Nine people died in rural McNairy County, according to Mayor Larry Smith, who added that the area was hit by two back-to-back tornadoes.
In Illinois, the roof of a concert venue collapsed during a show, leaving one person dead and 48 injured, according to officials. Three others died in the western part of the state, toward the Indiana border.
A high school in Wynne, Ark., was eviscerated, with the artificial turf from the school’s football field hurled into a house 100 yards away. At least four people were killed in that state, according to LaTresha Woodruff, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management.
The storm is also believed to have taken five lives, including those of the two campers, in Indiana. Authorities in Alabama, Delaware and Mississippi each recorded one death from the storms.
The governors of Illinois, Indiana and Arkansas issued emergency declarations for parts or all of their states. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) also declared a state of emergency Friday in anticipation of the effects of the storms. Beshear tweeted early Saturday that “as of now, we have no known Kentucky fatalities from last night’s storms and tornadoes.”
The risk of widespread severe weather decreased Sunday across most of the Lower 48 states. However, severe thunderstorms were still expected over northeastern Texas, including Dallas, until midnight local time, with the possibility of large hail and several tornadoes also arriving, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) activated state emergency resources ahead of the weather.
“North, Central, and East Texans should prepare for severe storms to make their way through local communities today through Tuesday,” Abbott said in a statement. “With these storms having the potential to bring large hail, strong winds, flash flooding, and tornadoes, Texans should remain weather-aware, heed the guidance of their local officials, and have a plan set in place for themselves and their loved ones in case of an emergency.”
There is an Enhanced risk of severe weather in parts of North/Northeast Texas today (4/2). All severe hazards are possible including the potential for very large hail (2+ inches), a strong tornado or two, and significant wind gusts (75+ mph). Stay weather aware this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/wAB0WOAqfY— NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) April 2, 2023
The storms are expected to continue into the week.
Tuesday could be a particularly dangerous day, with severe thunderstorms “likely to develop late Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night across the lower Missouri Valley into southern portions of the Upper Midwest, and across parts of the southeastern Great Plains into portions of the Mid South,” the Weather Service said. These thunderstorms could produce “a few strong tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind gusts,” it added.
Some of the population centers with the highest risk of impact include Chicago, Kansas City and Little Rock, it said.
2:20am CDT #SPC Day3 Outlook Enhanced Risk: across much of northern Missouri and southeastern Iowa into central and northern Illinois as well as across parts of northeastern Texas southeastern Oklahoma much of northwestern and ce... https://t.co/K89lXjsUbi pic.twitter.com/dFuchiNAlg— NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) April 2, 2023
Kim Bellware, Matthew Cappucci, Evan Halper, Jennifer Hassan, Niha Masih, Justine McDaniel, Kendra Nichols, Bryan Pietsch and Brittany Shammas contributed to this report.