LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 28 (UPI) -- The death toll following a deadly set of tornadoes that stuck the central United States on Sunday night has risen to 18, as 16 people have been found dead in Arkansas, one in Oklahoma and one in Iowa.
The largest tornado damage appears to have taken place north of Little Rock, Ark. where the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia were "devastated."
"It's chaos here," said Vilonia Mayor James Firestone. "Our downtown area seems like it's completely leveled."
Firestone went on to say that the "tremendous" damage had turned houses into brick piles, that there were gas lines spewing and a power outage.
According to THV 11, the tornado ripped trough Arkansas around 7.p.m. and continued to cause destruction for more than one hour. The windstorm was first seen in the Pinnacle Mountain/Maumelle area, and then moved up to Mayflower, Vilonia, and over to Searcy. More than 100 people were treated in hospitals in the state.
Before the devastating tornado was spotted in Arkansas, Oklahoma residents saw a twister in the northern town of Quapaw, where one person died. The same line of storms hit Baxter Springs, Kansas, which is just a few miles north.
"Search and rescue is under way involving several agencies," county emergency dispatcher Kelly Flecks said. "Please tell the public to stay away so they can do their jobs. We can't confirm anything else at the moment."
Eastern Iowa was also affected by the severe whether costing the life of one woman in the community of Kinross in Keokuk County.
President Barack Obama addressed Sunday night's incident from the Philippines, giving his condolences to grieving central U.S. families and assuring victims that help was under way.
"I want all affected to know FEMA is on the ground and will help Americans in need, and your country will be there to help and rebuild as long as it takes," the president said from the Philippines.