Three years after a tornado devastated the Little Rock suburb of Vilonia, its residents again huddled in storm cellars as the most powerful twister this year carved an 80-mile path of destruction through suburbs north of the state capital, killing at least 16 people.
Emergency officials began to pick through the rubble to look for survivors as the sun rose Monday morning. The tornado that touched down around 7 p.m. Sunday about 10 miles west of Little Rock grew to be half a mile wide and remained on the ground for much of that route, authorities said.
It was among a rash of tornadoes and heavy storms that rumbled across the center and south of the country overnight. The National Weather Service warned that the destructive storms were expected to continue Monday in the South and Mississippi Valley.
Another twister killed a person in Quapaw, Okla., before crossing into Kansas to the north and destroying 60 to 70 homes and injuring 25 people in the city of Baxter Springs, according to authorities in Kansas. A suspected tornado struck near Plain Dealing in northwest Louisiana.
The overall death toll stood at 17 early Monday.