Two dead in northeast Arkansas as tornadoes hit region

December 11, 2021 GMT

MONETTE, Ark. (AP) — Two people were killed in northeastern Arkansas as tornadoes struck several states in the region, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Saturday in Monette.

One person at Monette Manor nursing home in Monette and one person inside a Dollar General store in Leachville died as twisters struck the area about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock, Hutchinson said.

“Probably the most remarkable thing is that there’s not a greater loss of life,” Hutchinson said after touring the heavily damaged nursing home that he described as destroyed and said housed 67 residents.

The storms also hit a candle factory in Kentucky, where that state’s governor said the statewide death toll may surpass 100, and an Amazon facility in Illinois.

“When you look at Kentucky ... it does put things in perspective and it makes you grateful that there wasn’t a greater loss” of lives, Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said he has declared a state of emergency for the area and assessments will begin to determine if the damage meets the threshold for federal assistance.