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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June 2004, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Midwest US hit by severe storms
A tornado in southern Kansas
At least 84 tornadoes have been spotted in the last 24 hours
Tornadoes and severe weather in the Midwestern United States have destroyed hundreds of homes and killed at least eight people.

Tens of thousands of homes have been left without power as high winds swept through eight states.

Heavy rains also caused flooding in Illinois, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Three people are reported to have died on Sunday, including an elderly man in Marengo, Indiana, one of the areas worst-hit by the storms.

Winds there area hit 170 miles (275km) an hour, the National Weather Service told AP news agency.

"It's the worst thing I've ever been through. It was loud and noisy, windy. It was unreal," a resident told AP.

As many as 100 homes were destroyed in the small town of about 800 people.

Flooding and mudslides

At least 84 tornadoes were spotted in the last 24 hours in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Iowa.

In Tennessee, a seven-year-old girl died on after a wall in her home collapsed, state police said.

"We had reports of winds in excess of 100mph (160km/h)," a local emergency worker told Reuters news agency.

A 39-year-old man was killed in a suburb of St Louis, Missouri, when a tree fell on his car.

Flooding and mudslides have washed out bridges and roads over the weekend in West Virginia, where a state of emergency has been declared in 10 counties.

Heavy winds have been blamed for two deaths in Kansas on Saturday.

One of the fatalities was Kansas State Senator Stan Clark, who was killed in a highway car accident.

Three people are reported to have died in Missouri on Saturday, although no further details are available.

It was the first big outbreak of tornadoes of the season, the National Weather Service told Reuters.

The worst of the storms appear to be over, although Louisiana, Texas and the mid-Atlantic states could still see some severe weather, it added.


Your comments:

We enjoyed nature's show with a ringside seat
Scott, St Louis, USA
My wife and I saw the storms come through. We had our local weather radar on the TV and watched storms come in from our patio. The storms came through every day during the week. Fortunately for us we reside on high ground, so we enjoyed nature's show with a ringside seat. Several tornadoes touched down within 30 km, but none near us. A Midwesterner knows when a tornado is imminent by the air pressure, and when to take cover.
Scott, St Louis, USA

I was at my school for an awards assembly when the storms started on Thursday. My mom and I tried to drive home, but there were two trees down across the road into our neighbourhood. After half an hour, somebody pushed them aside, and we went home. The rain was very heavy, and we couldn't see very far in front of us. It was also very windy, and our neighbours said later that the trees had been blown around in circles; we believe a funnel may have passed over our area, but not touched down.

It seemed like there were multiple lightning strikes every minute, and a few times hail came down. Three large trees fell on the power lines in our backyard, and as a result we were without power for two days. On Sunday the power came back on, but that night more storms swept through the area. My family and I took shelter in the basement. Luckily, our area wasn't badly damaged, although several tornadoes were reported to be only a few miles away from us. The chainsaws are still going throughout the neighbourhood, as everyone cleans up the mess. I have to say though, that the storms were not as bad as what my family and I have experienced in North Carolina during hurricanes.
Audrey, Kentucky, USA

The tornadoes tore several trees up around my home and knocked the power out for several days. Some places don't have water, power, or gas and they are not expected to be ready again for several days, maybe even weeks.
Noah, USA



SEE ALSO
Tornado-hit state gets aid
10 May 03 |  Americas
US clears up after tornadoes
06 May 03 |  Americas
Tornadoes: Small but terrifying
11 Nov 02 |  Sci/Tech

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