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At least 25 dead as tornadoes batter the South and Midwest

Wynne, a city in Arkansas’ northeastern Cross County where 4 people died, saw widespread damage from the storm system, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a tweet.

At least 25 people are dead after a major storm system ripped through the Midwest, the South and the mid-Atlantic, bringing tornadoes and severe thunderstorms through Saturday night.

The latest fatalities were reported in Tennessee and Delaware.

The sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, said Saturday evening that the death toll had grown to nine. All victims were in buildings destroyed down to their foundations, he said.

One death was reported in Delaware's Sussex County, where an apparent tornado struck southeast of the small community of Greenwood, said county spokesperson Chip Guy.

It wasn't clear how many people, if any, were injured, but "several structures were damaged," he said.

Officials in Delaware were waiting for another line of severe weather to move through before conducting recovery operations, Guy said. The apparent tornado was part of the same thunderous weather system that struck the Midwest and South overnight.

The National Weather Service was working to confirm the tornado reports by putting people on the ground to assess damage, which can take time.

"We will be surveying damage from likely tornadoes that struck many of our Middle Tennessee counties overnight, including Wayne, Lewis, Marshall, Rutherford, Cannon and Macon counties," the weather service field office in Nashville said on Saturday. "Due to the widespread damage, it will take us several days to reach all these areas."

The damage includes downed trees, power lines and "houses with heavy damage" in multiple counties, according to a list of storm reports collected by the agency.

Five of the U.S. deaths were in Cross and Pulaski counties in Arkansas, four are in Boone and Crawford counties in Illinois, three are in Sullivan County, Indiana, one in Pontotac County, Mississippi, one in Madison County, Alabama, and one in Tipton County, Tennessee, according to officials.

Wynne, a city in Arkansas' northeastern Cross County where four people died, saw widespread damage from the storm system, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a tweet.

Central Arkansas also suffered “significant damage” Friday, Sanders said, after meteorologists said a tornado touched down in North Little Rock, pummeling buildings and leaving at least three people dead and dozens injured.

"Today has been a very hard day for the state of Arkansas," Sanders said at a news conference on Friday. "But the goodness of this is that Arkansas and Arkansans are tough and we are resilient, and no matter what comes our way, we will get back up the next day and keep moving."

Arkansas declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Friday afternoon. At a news conference Friday, Sanders said 100 guardsmen had been deployed across the state.

A firefighter checks homes for injured residents in Little Rock, Ark.
A firefighter checks homes for injured residents in Little Rock, Ark., on Friday.Benjamin Krain / Getty Images

Sanders visited areas affected by tornadoes on Saturday.

"A fire station in West Little Rock suffered an unbelievable amount of damage but the real story here isn’t the damage that happened but it’s the heroes that were born out of the tragedy," she tweeted, adding in another tweet that the destruction at Wynne High School was also severe.

A severe weather event across northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana brought "widespread wind damage with multiple tornadoes," thunderstorms and scattered large hail to the area, according to a preliminary report from the National Weather Service.

State police confirmed three people were killed in Indiana, and a tornado in Boone County, Illinois, specifically the city of Belvidere, killed a 50-year-old man and injured 28 others when the roof of a concert venue collapsed Friday night at the Apollo Theatre. Of the 28 people who were taken to the hospital, five had serious injuries, according to Belvidere fire officials.

Belvidere officials could not speak to any warning given to concert goers, or if any were advised to move to a safe place. The loud concert may have prevented attendees from hearing the tornado sirens that blared in the area Friday night.

It's not confirmed how many tornadoes hit Illinois and Indiana, but the National Weather Service reported many areas with structural damage and potential tornadoes, including in Baileyville, Belvidere, Mendota and downtown Batavaia in Illinois, and Merillville in Indiana.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order on Saturday declaring Sullivan and Johnson counties in a state of emergency.

A house is damaged by fallen trees during a tornado in Belvidere, Ill.
A house is damaged by fallen trees during a tornado in Belvidere, Ill., on Saturday.Erin Hooley / AP

Two teams will survey storm damage across Indiana on Saturday, including in Allen and White counties, according to the National Weather Service field office in northern Indiana.

More than a half-million utility customers were without electricity in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, according to grid tracker