Tornadoes devastate central US: 'We're so thankful God spared our lives'

At least 18 dead in three states.

NBC News Twitter

At least 18 people were killed on Sunday after tornadoes ripped through Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa.

Faulkner County, Arkansas was hit the worst, suffering the loss of 10 people and over 150 homes. County Sherrif Andy Shock was stunned by the destruction.

"What I'm seeing is something that I cannot describe in words," Shock told NBC News. "It is utter and sheer devastation."

Early Monday, rescuers dug through the rubble and scattered debris, searching for survivors. Sheriff Shock said he expected to find more bodies.

"We're praying not, but there's no telling," he stated. "There's no knocking on doors. These places are leveled."

Ottawa County, Arkansas had entire neighborhoods destroyed. Residents Judy and Robert Garrett, who survived the storm by sheltering in their tornado safe room, lost everything.

"The whole roof's gone, the walls are gone," Mr. Garrett told ABC News.

"Everything's gone," his wife continued. "And our camper is laying on its side."

Despite the ruination, the couple thanks God for His grace.

"We had everything there," Mrs. Garrett said, "but you know that's just things. Those are things. We're so thankful God spared our lives."

Five people were killed in Pulaski County, Arkansas, and one person was killed in White County. Oklahoma and Iowa both lost one person to the tornado outbreak.

The severe weather came on the third anniversary of a tornado season that killed 300 people in the southern states. This tornado season is expected to see twisters in Arkansas as strong as an EF-3—which have winds of over 136 mph.

On Monday, severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes are expected in Arkansas, northern Louisiana, east Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, and other areas.

On Tuesday, a stretch of states from southern Indiana to the Florida panhandle are at risk, and forecasters warn that the Carolinas, Georgia, and the coast of Virginia may see storms on Wednesday.

The Weather Channel Twitter

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