The tornado that ripped through Little Rock and neighboring towns in the southern US state of Arkansas has killed at least two people and left about 30 others injured, officials said, tearing off roofs and walls of buildings, scattering cars as if it was games, it uprooted trees and destroyed part of the power grid.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Republican governor of Arkansas, announced during a press conference late Friday that two people had died in the town of Wynn, about 100 miles east of Little Rock, near the Tennessee border.

About 30 injured people were taken to hospitals by the fire department and other first responders, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott said, adding that no deaths had been reported so far.

Police said the western part of the city was mostly hit; Mayor Scott called the damage “extensive”.

Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock, across the Arkansas River, said it had taken in 11 injured people, one of whom was in critical condition. Local television station KTHV reported one death in North Little Rock, but this has not yet been officially confirmed.

Up to 10 injured people were taken to Unity Health Hospital in nearby Jacksonville, according to its director, Kevin Burton.

The death toll is feared to rise, as Wynne Police Chief Richard Dennis told local television station KAIT8 that his city had suffered “absolute devastation” and spoke of dozens trapped in the debris.

Aerial images broadcast by the Weather Channel show several blocks of Little Rock devastated, with homes left without roofs and walls, others collapsed, and overturned cars strewn about.

Governor Huckabee Sanders said earlier yesterday that she had declared a state of emergency and ordered the mobilization of the National Guard. He added that he is “praying” for the victims.

The US National Weather Service (NWS) had earlier issued an emergency warning.

Tornadoes, a spectacular and devastating phenomenon that is particularly difficult to predict, often strike the US, especially the central and southern parts of the country.

A week ago, a tornado hit the state of Mississippi, killing 25 people and causing massive property damage. US President Joe Biden visited the state earlier yesterday.

In December 2021, some 80 people died when tornadoes hit the state of Kentucky.