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17 Dead After Tornadoes Tear Through Plains States

Widespread Damage And Casualties After Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas
NOAA via Getty Images

A series of tornadoes ripped across Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa on Sunday, killing at least 17 people and destroying multiple homes, vehicles and businesses.

The most powerful of the storms reached a half-mile wide in size, with wind speeds reaching 150 mph. Suburban Little Rock was hardest hit, and it is the main focus of rescue workers who are still trying to locate numerous missing people. “Right now, the main focus is life safety,” said Brandon Morris, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. “We’re trying to make sure everyone is accounted for.”

A tornado landed in Quapaw, Oklahoma, killing one person before it moved into Baxter Springs, Kansas. And yet another storm touched down in northwest Louisiana, near Plain Dealing.

It appears that the worst of the weather has passed, but further twisters are still possible. Thunderstorms are expected to continue throughout Monday in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

President Obama, who is traveling in the Philippines, pledged federal aid and confirmed that FEMA is now working with local officials in the aftermath of the storms.

Below is a overhead video (shot via drone by Brian Emfinger) that gives you a decent sense of the scope of the damage just south of Mayflower, Arkansas:

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[Reuters, ABC, KATV]

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