WYNNE, Ark.—As Danielle Russell drove back into her neighborhood Friday night after a tornado tore through this small city, she said she saw a white shape in the dark and hoped it wasn’t the roof of her house.  

Moments later she pulled up and saw that powerful winds had peeled off much of a metal layer of her roof, which now hung down, covering the house’s front. The damage forced Ms. Russell, 38 years old, to spend Friday night with her two children in their car, worried that the house wasn’t safe. 

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