Approximately two dozen tornadoes tore through parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Tennessee on Tuesday night, killing three people and leaving several more injured. Tractor-trailers along Interstate 55 and Route 51 toppled over due to tornadic winds.
According to the National Weather Service, there were 25 tornado reports on Tuesday, Feb. 28. One person was killed in Ottawa, Ill., another in Crossville, Ill., and a third in Perryville, Mo.
As of press time, I-55 is down to one lane near Perryville and U.S. 61 is closed in both directions from Route 51 in Perryville to Route M due to debris and power lines on the road. Both highways are expected to fully reopen sometime Thursday morning. No significant closures were reported in the other states affected by tornadoes.
The tornado in Perryville caused significant damage after the storm picked up approximately 20 cars from a nearby junkyard and blew them onto Interstate 55. Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Juston Wheetely told Land Line that several junk cars and other debris landed on the highway. At least three tractor trailers overturned on I-55 and another on Route 51.
A 24-year-old male driving on I-55 at the time was ejected from his vehicle and killed when the tornado passed through the interstate. According to Wheetley, approximately 66 percent of 180 homes surveyed in Perryville suffered moderate to severe damage.
The National Weather Service is reporting the same storm system moved east on Wednesday, causing severe thunderstorms and damaging winds for the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Tornadoes are more likely in parts of northeast Mississippi and north Georgia. As of press time, there were two possible tornadoes on Wednesday: one in Apple Grove, W.Va., and another in Jackson, Ky.