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Death toll rises to 26 after storms pummel South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic


The death toll from severe thunderstorms in the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic has risen to 26, as authorities warned that extreme weather will probably return later this week.

In the latest update to the evolving toll from the storm, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said a couple was found dead at the campground of the McCormick’s Creek State Park after heavy storms badly damaged the area.

The victims, whom the department identified as Brett Kincaid, 53, and Wendy Kincaid, 47, of Rossville, Ind., were found after authorities were notified that two campers were missing. An investigation into their deaths is underway.

In Memphis, two children and one adult were found dead Saturday after police responded to a call about trees that had fallen on houses, according to Christopher Williams, a police spokesman, who said the deaths were believed to be tied to the storms that had passed through Friday night.

Their deaths bring the total number thought to be caused by the storms to 26, with scores more injured and extensive damage to property reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to local officials and media outlets.

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In towns and cities across the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, residents said the storms flattened homes, brought down trees and power lines, and left debris strewn everywhere.

In Illinois, the roof of a concert venue collapsed while patrons were at a show inside, leaving one person dead and 40 injured. Three others died in the western part of the state, toward the Indiana border. A high school in Wynne, Ark., was eviscerated, with the artificial turf from the school’s football field hurled into a house 100 yards away. At least four people were killed in that state, according to LaTresha Woodruff, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management. The storm is also believed to have taken five lives, including those of the two campers, in Indiana.

Authorities in Alabama, Delaware and Mississippi each recorded one death from the storms.

Seven people were killed in Tennessee’s rural McNairy County, according to Mayor Larry Smith, who added that the area was hit by two back-to-back tornadoes. Those deaths incident brought the total number of known victims in the state to 10.

The governors of Indiana and Arkansas issued emergency declarations for parts or all of their states. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) also declared a state of emergency Friday in anticipation of the effects of the storms. Beshear tweeted early Saturday that “as of now, we have no known Kentucky fatalities from last night’s storms and tornadoes.”

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The storms are expected to continue into the week, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

Tuesday could be a particularly dangerous day, with severe thunderstorms “likely to develop late Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night across the lower Missouri Valley into southern portions of the Upper Midwest, and across parts of the southeastern Great Plains into portions of the Mid South,” the NWS said. These thunderstorms could produce “a few strong tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind gusts,” it added.

Some of the population centers with the highest risk of impact include Chicago, Kansas City and Little Rock, it said.

The risk of widespread severe weather was forecast to decrease Sunday, though the NWS said heavy winds and hail remained possible overnight across parts of the Mid-Atlantic into New England.

Tens of thousands of households in that region were without power early Sunday, according to Poweroutage.us, which tracks reports of outages across the United States. At 7 a.m. Eastern time, that included more than 115,000 customers in Pennsylvania and almost 37,000 in Virginia.

More than 60 tornado reports across several states were recorded on March 31 and April 1, leaving death and destruction in their paths. (Video: Alexa Juliana Ard/The Washington Post)

Kim Bellware, Jennifer Hassan, Niha Masih, Matthew Cappucci, Evan Halper, Justine McDaniel, Bryan Pietsch and Kendra Nichols contributed to this report.

Read More:Death toll rises to 26 after storms pummel South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic