Tornadoes fueled by unusually warm air pummeled the South and Midwest on Friday, killing at least six people and injuring dozens more across Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.
Three people were killed in the northwestern Arkansas hamlet of Cincinnati when a tornado touched down just before sunrise, and three others were killed when a storm spawned by the same weather system ripped up the Missouri countryside near Rolla. Several storms were also reported in the St. Louis area.
“It sucked me out of my house and carried me across the road and dropped me,” Chris Sisemore of Cincinnati, Ark., said. “I was Superman for a while…. You’re just free-floating through the air. Trees are knocking you and smacking you down.”
Sisemore said he opened his eyes as he flew because he didn’t believe he’d see 2011.
“I wanted to see the end coming,” he said. “You’re only going to see it one time and I thought that was it.”
In Missouri, a 19-year-old woman and her 64-year-old grandmother were killed at a Lecoma farm where their family lived among three mobile homes and two frame houses, Dent County Emergency Management Coordinator Brad Nash said.
“We found debris from one of the trailers a mile away,” Nash said.
In Arkansas, an elderly couple were killed in their home and a man was killed while milking cows, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder said.
At Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, a storm damaged 20 homes in a neighborhood that houses officers.
And in Illinois, about two dozen homes were damaged in Petersburg, northwest of Springfield.