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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 18:00 GMT
Tornadoes kill 10 in US Midwest
Remains of a home hit by one of several tornadoes near St Mary, Missouri

At least 10 people have been killed and hundreds of homes and businesses damaged as tornadoes swept through parts of the US Midwest.

Nine bodies were found in Missouri, hardest hit by the weekend storms. Another victim was found in Indiana.

Springfield, the Illinois capital, was also badly hit. The mayor compared the damage to Hurricane Katrina.

The University of Kansas and schools in three states were closed on Monday as fierce wind, rain and hail continued.

The bodies of four people were found in the rubble of their homes in the north-central Missouri town of Renick, the authorities said.

It's just amazing how devastating it is
Tim Davlin
Springfield mayor

Two people were killed when their pick-up truck was hurled off the road towards a propane tank, south of St Louis.

A woman was killed just south of Sedalia. "The trailer came down right on top of her," said neighbour Bobby Ritcheson.

Deaths were also reported in Henry County and Marionville. A 28-year-old man in Indiana drowned after falling from his boat.

More storms

The storms began on Saturday, and hail - in some cases the size of baseballs - was reported in several western Missouri counties.

Homes were damaged and power lines downed, and with many residents displaced, officials said.

In Kansas City, high winds lifted a cargo container off the airfield at the international airport and blew it into several vehicles.

Springfield was hit hard twice, first by a tornado and then by strong wind.

A Wal-Mart store and two hotels lost their roofs, windows were blown out and debris littered the streets.

"It's just amazing how devastating it is," said mayor Tim Davlin. "It looks like the pictures we saw a couple of months ago after Katrina."

The University of Kansas suspended classes on Monday after about 60% of the buildings on its campus were damaged. The site was left littered with trees, roof tiles and window glass.

Schools in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin were also closed as a second line of storms pummelled the region.

It was not immediately clear how many tornadoes struck the Midwestern United States at the weekend.

Forecasters said the tornadoes were part of a long line of stormy weather that stretched from the southern Plains up the Ohio Valley.

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