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2 dead in Arkansas, roof collapses at Illinois Amazon facility as severe weather strikes parts of U.S.



Tornado-like impacts were reported Friday night in Arkansas, where at least two people died, and Illinois, where the roof of an Amazon facility collapsed, as severe weather moved along the Mississippi Valley.

Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said at least two people were dead and five were seriously injured when an apparent tornado struck the Monette Manor Nursing Home in Monette, Arkansas.

Authorities have cleared the building and no one else was reported to be trapped, he said.

A major emergency response was also underway at an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, outside St. Louis, according to NBC affiliate KSDK of St. Louis.

The roof of the facility collapsed and multiple people have been injured, according to Associated Press.

The National Weather Service warned Friday night that “tornadic thunderstorms” were moving from eastern Missouri to Illinois Friday night. Tornadoes were possible in the St. Louis area, federal forecasters said.

Tornado warnings late Friday covered parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. More than 62,000 utility customers in Missouri and Arkansas were without power.

Strong weather was expected to affect 35 million Americans this weekend, with heavy snow forecast in the Midwest, tornadoes possible in the South, and rain aiming for California.

A low-pressure system over the Central Plains was producing as much as 2 inches of snow an hour in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region Friday night. “Travel will be very difficult,” the weather service tweeted.

That front was expected to strengthen as it moves over the Great Lakes region Saturday and brings with it heavy snowfall and blustery winds, federal forecasters said.

Light snow and strong winds were expected overnight in Chicago, they said. Rain and high winds were forecasted for Detroit, where the National Weather Service warned residents to prepare for possible power outages.

Warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico was expected to move north and create thunderstorms with heavy downpours and some flooding in the Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley on Saturday night.

The National Weather Service office that serves Little Rock tweeted it sought temporary shelter Saturday night “due to radar indicated 70-80 mph winds.”

The city of Monette implemented a state of emergency as severe weather struck the area, according to NBC affiliate KARK of Little Rock.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday told residents to stay alert. “Folks need to have plans for safely sheltering in place in the event of a tornado, and they need to be prepared in case there are disruptions to local utilities,” he said in a statement.

Warm air was expected to move into the Eastern Seaboard on Saturday, producing record high temperatures for the date in some parts of the Mid-Atlantic, federal forecasters said.

The National Weather Service office that covers New York City said high temperatures in 60s were expected.

But the springlike weather will be short-lived: A cold front was forecasted to “sweep across the entire East Coast” late Saturday, bringing “sharply falling temperatures and sudden onset of blustery winds,” the weather service said in a forecast discussion Friday.

California was preparing for rain and snow as a storm was expected to strike the northern half of the state Saturday and then move south, bringing snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains and even to peaks in Southern California. Rain was forecast from the Bay Area to the border.

Federal forecasters in Oxnard, California, said as much as 2 feet of snow could fall Monday and Tuesday in mountain locations higher than 7,000 feet.

The National Weather Service office that covers Sacramento urged motorists to avoid traveling in the mountains.

The California governor’s Office of Emergency Services said residents up and down the state should prepare for “widespread moderate to heavy rain, mountain snow, gusty winds, and thunderstorms” through at least Tuesday.




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