Storms rip through Arkansas nursing home, Illinois warehouse

  • Part of the Amazon distribution center in downstate Edwardsville collapsed after being hit by heavy winds on Friday night.

    Part of the Amazon distribution center in downstate Edwardsville collapsed after being hit by heavy winds on Friday night. Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • ABC 7 Chicago's radar shows rain moving through the area Friday afternoon, and bigger storms are expected to come through Friday night and Saturday morning.

    ABC 7 Chicago's radar shows rain moving through the area Friday afternoon, and bigger storms are expected to come through Friday night and Saturday morning. Courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago

 
Associated Press
Updated 12/11/2021 12:03 AM

MONETTE, Ark. -- At least two people were killed Friday night when a reported tornado ripped through an Arkansas nursing home, and emergency crews in southern Illinois were also responding to reports of injuries at an Amazon warehouse after a roof collapsed amid storms there.

Craighead County Judge Marvin Day told KAIT-TV that at least five others were injured and 20 people were trapped after the tornado struck the Monette Manor area in northeast Arkansas. A call by The Associated Press to the county office wasn't immediately returned.

 

The TV station reported that emergency crews from Trumann, and police and firefighters from Jonesboro were headed to the area to assist. The nursing home has about 90 beds.

Footage from St. Louis TV stations showed dozens of emergency vehicles at the Amazon center near Edwardsville, about 25 miles east of St. Louis. It wasn't immediately clear if or how many people were hurt, but the Collinsville Emergency Management Agency on Facebook called it a "mass casualty incident." One official told KTVI-TV that up to 100 people were believed to be in the building, working the night shift, at the time of the collapse.

The Belleville News-Democrat reported that the Amazon fulfillment center in Edwardsville opened with two warehouses in 2016, with 1.5 million square feet of space. The warehouses are used to store items until they are shipped to mail-order customers.

The collapse came as a strong thunderstorm, and possibly a tornado, ripped through the St. Louis area. Winds of up to 70 mph were reported in parts of St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri. At least three St. Charles County residents were hospitalized and several homes in the area near Augusta, Missouri, were damaged.

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The storms in Illinois and Arkansas were among several places in the Midwest that reported tornadoes spotted or on the ground.

The weather service issued a wind advisory for the entire Chicago area from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Wind gusts up to 50 mph are possible, especially Saturday morning.

Residents should take care to secure any holiday decorations in case of storms.

Temperatures will rise into the 50s, and maybe even into the 60s south, and then stay in the 50s in the overnight hours, but by Saturday morning they will begin to crash into the 30s starting around 8 a.m., ABC 7 said.

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