Deadly storms over the weekend left at least 37 people dead and destroyed communities across the eastern United States. The storms spread from Texas to North Carolina and left 18 dead in Kentucky, 14 dead in Indiana, three dead in Ohio and one dead in both Alabama and Georgia. They began on Friday and by Saturday the focus of many was to assess the damage; what was salvageable and what was destroyed, and treating the wounded. The tornadoes influenced the weather in South Georgia and northern Florida, bringing heavy rain and high winds all the way down to Orlando.
Indiana was one of the states devastated by the tornadoes and meteorologist Joe Sullivan said the tornado that swept through Southern Indiana was an EF-4, which means its winds sustained between 166 and 200 MPH. In terms of strength, it was in the top 2% of all tornadoes. It went for 52 miles and was 150 yards wide.
Among the reports of death and destruction is a twenty month old little girl was was found injured by alive in a field in Salem, about 20 miles south of Henryville. Her immediate family was killed in the tornado and although the infant was in critical condition as of Saturday, she sadly passed away on Monday.
At the Henryville high school and adjacent elementary school, staff and 40 students who were unable to go home were left to huddle in an office area during the storms and pray for their lives as the tornadoes approached. Luckily, none of the students or faculty were injured.
While some towns, such as Marysville, are almost completely ruined, others were hardly touched. Roughly 250 National Guard troops have been called in to provide aid and security in Henryville, Marysville and other devestated towns. Similary, in Kenucky, the governor declared a statewide emergency and ordered the deployment of 220 National Guard troops to search for survivors in Morgan County.
Tennessee had reports of possible tornado touchdowns and there were three confirmations in Jackson, Putnam and Overton counties. At least 29 were injured, but no fatalities were declared.
Two elementary schools were damaged in north Georgia on Friday night, as well as a small airfield and several homes.
Two fatalities were counted in Ohio. Governer John Kasich said after touring the area, “it’s like a bomb went off and everything is splintered, bricks are down, and tress, and just a lot of debris.”
Unfortunately, there is no way to control nature and the devastation that storms can destroy towns, homes and families.