Town ripped apart as tornadoes strafe US

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Tornadoes are on the increase, most likey due to Climate Change

Town ripped apart as tornadoes strafe US

Updated March 01, 2012 08:37:20

A massive winter storm has unleashed a string of tornadoes across the US Midwest, leaving a trail of destruction and killing at least nine people.

The town of Harrisburg, Illinois was ripped apart by a deadly tornado that stayed on the ground for kilometres, striking while most were still sleeping.

“We’ve got homes toppled, cars thrown in lakes. You can’t imagine how devastating it is until you’re there,” Harrisburg mayor Eric Gregg told CNN.

“In small communities it’s just heart-breaking – we all know each other, we all care very much about each other.”

Rescue crews have been digging through the rubble to search for survivors and Mr Gregg says he hopes the toll in his town of 9,000 people has not risen above the six bodies already recovered.

At least 100 people were injured by the tornado that damaged or destroyed up to 300 homes and 25 businesses.

The tornado also ripped a wall off the local hospital, but staff luckily received a warning in time to get all the patients away from the windows and into the central corridor so nobody was hurt.

The National Weather Service has received 17 reports of tornadoes in six states, battering Nebraska and Kansas, then moving eastward to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

Severe thunderstorms were expected to continue to pound Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee before moving to the eastern seaboard.

Missouri’s governor also declared a state of emergency after at least three people were killed by tornadoes which ripped across the southern portion of the state, causing extensive damage in the towns of Branson, Buffalo, Cassville, Lebanon and Oak Ridge.

The deadly storm marks an early start to tornado season in a region still recovering from record-breaking severe weather outbreaks.

Some 545 people were killed by tornadoes in 2011, which was the deadliest tornado season since 1936 and the third-worst on record, according to the National Weather Service.



Topics:storm-disaster, weather, united-states

First posted March 01, 2012 07:30:53

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