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Extreme tornado damage in Little Rock, Arkansas after scores of homes destroyed across US with death toll rising

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The death toll continues to rise after thousands of buildings were destroyed in Arkansas and other US states by dozens of tornadoes.

At least 25 people have died so far across the South and Midwest of the US, with the number of dead expected to increase following the tornadoes on Friday night.

Nine of the deaths are in McNairy County in southwestern Tennessee, according to the county’s sheriff.

Five of the deaths are in Cross and Pulaski counties in Arkansas, four 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.

The National Weather Service said the damage was so widespread it would take days to reach all affected areas.

The mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas’s capital, said more than 2,100 homes and businesses had been damaged in the city, but the full extent of the damage is still being assessed.

At least one person was killed in the area and more than two dozen were hurt, some critically, Little Rock authorities added.

The twisters sheared roofs and walls from many buildings, flipped over vehicles and downed trees and power lines in Little Rock and large areas east and northeast of the state capital, officials said.

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NBC’s Emilie Ikeda reports from Arkansas

Joanna McFadden was at a nail salon with two other people when a tornado struck.

“The only way we knew the tornado was coming – the leaves were swirling, that’s the only way we knew. It looked like it was standing still,” Ms McFadden said.

She and others took shelter in the back of the salon.

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Little Rock, Arkansas
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Tornado damage in Little Rock, Arkansas

The town of Wynne in northeastern Arkansas was also devastated, and officials reported four dead there, along with destroyed homes and people trapped in the debris.

Wynne City councillor Lisa Powell Carter said the town – about 50 miles west of Memphis, Tennessee – was without power and roads were full of debris.

“I’m sad that my town has been hit so hard,” said Heidi Jenkins, a salon owner.

“Our school is gone, my church is gone. I’m sad for all the people who lost their homes.”

Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders activated 100 members of the National Guard to help local authorities respond.

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Watch drone footage of the devastation in Wynne, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas
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Tornado damage
Wynne, Arkansas
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Damage in Wynne, Arkansas

Elsewhere across the US, the roof of a packed concert venue in Illinois collapsed, leaving people throughout the region bewildered by the damage on Saturday.

Confirmed or suspected tornadoes in at least seven states destroyed homes and businesses, splintered trees, and lay waste to neighbourhoods across an area of the country home to some 85 million people.

Nearly 90,000 customers in Arkansas lost power, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks outages. Outages were also reported in Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas.

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