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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK
Deadly storms batter central US
A tornado near Marmaduke, Arkansas injured dozens

Violent storms, with tornadoes and large hail, have swept several US states, killing at least 27 people.

Tennessee was the hardest hit, with 23 deaths reported. Three people died in Missouri and one in Illinois.

In Arkansas, dozens of people were injured when tornadoes hit the north-eastern part of the state.

Heavy storms also battered Kentucky and Indiana, where thousands of concert-goers were forced to flee as tornado sirens went off.

The storms uprooted trees, brought down power lines and overturned mobile homes and cars across wide sections of some central states.

"This is a high fatality count," a spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said on Sunday.

Officials said the death toll there was likely to rise.

Resident Lisa Scott looks at devastation in Millsfield, Tennessee

Most of the deaths were in Tennessee along a 25-mile (40km) path, stretching from Newbern - about 80 miles (129km) north-east of Memphis - to Bradford, officials said.

Rescue teams with sniffer dogs have been sent to the area to search for people who might be trapped in the rubble.

One survivor described the horror of how she and her two children were thrown into the yard by the twister, after taking cover in their house's toilet.

"By the time the sirens started going off, it was at our back door," Betty Sisk told the Associated Press news agency.

"I didn't hear a train sound, I heard a roaring," she said, adding that the storm had blown her house apart.

In Illinois, the search for any other possible victims under the rubble of a collapsed shop - where one man is known to have died - was hampered by a gas leak.

The Arkansas town of Marmaduke suffered extensive damage. Fire department officials told the AP that nearly half of the buildings had been destroyed.

The US National Weather Center warned on Monday that severe storms, with tornadoes and large hail, could hit the Carolinas and Virginia later in the day.

Were you affected by the storms? Send us your comments and experiences using the form at the bottom of the page. If you have any pictures of the tornadoes, you can send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk.

At least two tornadoes touched down in southeast Iowa too, with damage to one house and barn, maybe more. No injuries reported. But a friend of mine got beaned by quarter-size hail, because he wsa out running when it the storm hit. This time of year it's pretty common to spend a half-hour or so down in the basement due to a tornado warning. It happens so often people don't pay much attention.
Amy, Kalona, IA

It was quite a stormy night last night. We had I believe two tornadoes touch down, one south west of Champaign-Urbana and one north of town. At my residence we just got power back. Our mailbox flew down the street, but fortunately my brother found it in time.
Harry Thompson, Champaign, Illinois USA

I knew we were in trouble, when it got dark at 5:00 pm. (Way too early this time of year.) The sirens went off, and I watched it out my window. Nothing too bad in the city, but I hear that the suburbs got hit pretty badly. Friends of mine watched a roof blow off of one house and into another.
Mandy Bristol, St. Louis, Missouri USA

The storm had knocked our power out for about 3 hrs. in the mean time my friend and I presumed to drive around and check out the damage. The Broad Ripple area was about dead, No lights, except parts of the strip. Dontown, during the NCAA celebrations, the windows of a building exploded, leaving at least 15 stories of destroyed glass on one side.
Steve Webler, Indianapolis, Indiana

The Storms started coming at around 7:30 p.m., when the sky turned dark yellow. I happen to work at the Cincinnati International Airport, and it was a mess. We had wind gusts up to 75 mph, severe lightning, and torrential rain fall. The Airport was shutdown, because of the storms. We had 24 separate tornado warnings, around the tri-state area, and at least one confirmed funnel cloud. There were no damages to the airport or any aircraft, but it was a little hectic for about an hour and a half.
Kris Leek, Florence, Kentucky, U.S.A

Part of our roof fell out, but no one was injured. Yesterday, students at Washington University had to be moved to the lower level of the library as a precautionary measure. the staff were very professional.
Dominic, St. Louis, Missouri - USA

Physically not hurt but emotionally certainly... Bad news travels pretty fast. Having family members in Dyersburg, Tennessee and not being able to reach them due to down power lines was really scary... Thank God for cell phones. Now I know how they worried about me and my family with the hurricanes we had this past year. Our thoughts and prayers are with the folks who have lost their loved ones.
Wanda Whitehouse, Marathon, Florida (Keys)

We here in Kansas also saw some damaging winds, hail, and very heavy rain. There were tornadoes all around us, in other counties from this same storm system, Saturday night, and several of our state's small towns suffered damage from high winds and heavy rain. My family is originally from an area in Illinois that was hit last night, we found out this evening, and called to find that mostly everyone was OK, but there's a lot of wind damage there. I am thankful that everyone's OK. I really feel for everyone back home, and hope that the rest of our family in Indiana is OK as well.
BCassiday, Wichita Kansas USA

Well I came out ok... At most I lost 1/2 of my privacy fence and my front screen door got ripped off. From around the neighborhood one guy that had one of those thin walled (metal )sheds in the back yard got ripped off the foundation. Going to ofallon, IL and Fairview heights, there was a K&L store that is just gone. Some parts of the mall are gone, and the best buy sign ended up inside taco bell. Power was out at my neighborhood for as least 3+ hours, with the electric company telling us power would be restored by 6 P.M. tomorrow evening. Power came back around 10:15 P.M.
David Clements, Granite City, IL

The "supercell" thunderstorm, as the weather people call these tornado-making storms, hit just before sunset in western Kentucky. My father telephoned to alert me of the oncoming cell. If he hadn't, it would have caught me completely by surprise. (I live on a farm without the benefit of warning sirens.) The sky, everything turned the brightest green before I could get everyone, including pets, down into the cellar under the house. Except for small-sized hail and heavy rains, we were spared. Unfortunately for a town ten miles south of us, a tornado did touch down.
Michelle Batcher, Barlow Kentucky USA

Usually I enjoy extreme weather, but yesterday we had very nasty rain and winds here in Chicago. I can only imagine how things were down south. Must have been pretty bad.
Daniel Czyz, Chicago, IL

Around 7.30 last night I huddled in the bathroom with my babies after hearing the tornado sirens blaring away,My home was being pounded by hail and the hail was as big as golf balls. Some damage was done by this tornado in Marion but not as severe as the ones over the border in TN. It was a very scary experience, even Marion police were going up and down the roads with megaphones to tell us to stay indoors as a tornado was coming...Very frightening for this Brit Woman in Arkansas... Suzanne McHenry. Marion Arkansas, USA ( near Memphis)
Suzanne McHenry, Marion,Arkansas-USA (expat Brit)

In the last spat of storms a couple weeks ago, several nearby villages were decimated and a farm on the outskirts was destroyed. High winds and hail came through Springfield in this spat. I was waiting for the sirens to go off, but they didn't. Losing sleep and high stress levels are common following nights with tornados. If it doesn't hit you, it still messes up your life.
Benjamin Ranta, Springfield, Missouri, USA

We moved here two years ago from the UK. I have such fear of the weather over here that we have just this weekend had a Tornado shelter fitted under the floor of our garage. I know us English always complain about the weather at home...I for one would swap it in a heartbeat. During the Spring months...things can get really scary! Saturday evening we were on Tornado warning as the storms swept through the state and here I was glued to the weather channels...flashlight, passport and airline tickets in hand! We dodged the bullet this time!
suzy, oklahoma USA

We were hit by the storm around 9:30 local time. We were hit by high winds, heavy rain and hail the size of ping pong balls. Fortunately we weren't hit as hard as our friends to the west of us. But we are thinking about them.
Terry L. Woods, Bruceton, Tennessee USA

It was a day from hell yesterday. Lightning and thunder striking our city...
Green Yesil Green, Milwaukee, WI

These frequent tornadoes are one reason I'm glad I no longer live in the American Midwest. Tornadoes occur in Georgia too but not with such savagery and frequency. I think a lot of non-Americans don't realize how harsh the North American climate really is.
Jeremy Mason, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The line of thunderstorms went over me earlier in the afternoon near Springfield, Missouri, and we were under a tornado watch throughout the day. When the air is humidly moist, and also sticky warm, and it's only the beginning of April, you know trouble is brewing. We got hit on March 12th with four tornadoes on the ground simultaneously and my home was narrowly missed the night of March 12th. Yesterday was the same scenario, but thankfully for us here, it hadn't reached its zenith when it passed over us. Very sorry for the folks east of me. It's very sad.
Matthew Paulsen, Pleasant Hope, Missouri. USA

The storm came through here in Southwest Ohio with great ferocity. The remarkable thing is that the storm itself moved so fast. My understanding is that it was moving 50mph. As a result, the damage took place over a very little span of time. We had large hail, and a sweeping rain that appeared to move along with the 70mph gusts.
Dov Cohen, Dayton, Ohio

I have never seen so many tornado warning boxes appear on the state map at one time. I spent at least an hour camped out in the hallway with my weather radio and laptop, as the sirens sounded outside. Luckily, the area where I live escaped with only minor tree damage. When I came to work this morning, however, I could see some damage in the downtown area. Several windows were broken out of the Regions Bank tower, and a few signs and lamp posts had been knocked over around the area.
Ricky Lile, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

I live in Memphis, TN. We watched the storm rolling in across Arkansas. All the TV stations were carrying severe weather warnings. The storm hit at around 7:30PM; the sky was permanently lit by lightening, the streets were flooding and the hail was an inch across, rattling like stones on cars in the street outside my apartment. The main body of the storm seemed to blow over fairly quickly, but suddenly the air was pierced by the whine of air-raid sirens warning of tornadoes approaching. My roommate and I were terrified, having never been through this before. We were warned to get to a basement, but we live on the third floor of a wooden building. There was nowhere to hide. Thankfully nothing hit near us, but a friend called from Missouri. Her relatives had lost everything; houses flattened, cars missing. Thankfully, as far as we know, no one was seriously hurt or killed. Living in tornado alley is certainly an hair raising experience...
Ian brooks, Memphis, TN (exp! at Brit)

I was driving home from St. Louis to Memphis when the radio emergency systems came on and told people in certain counties of Missouri to take cover, unfortunately I didn't know what county I was in (not familiar with MO). Next thing, my boss called me on my cell and guided me home the whole way - telling me when to get off the road and look for shelter and when the next tornado was about to hit. He saved my life, I would have driven strait into the path of one of the tornadoes that came across Arkansas and into Tennessee if not for him. Was never so scared! Sure glad to be alive today!
Audrey Flynn, Memphis, TN

My clock and light were shut off due to this powerful storm. It also scared the hell out of me with its thunderous might!
Peter D-Mun, Chicago, IL USA

My family and I live in the middle of Tornado Alley. This year's tornado season has arrived early and hard! We have already had a number of tornado outbreaks around here in the last few weeks. We spent yesterday afternoon and evening preparing again for the worst- preparing to cram the whole family in the bath tub with cushions over our heads. Luckily the storms were minor around our town-although six twisters touched down in neighbouring towns and villages. Many complements to the media who yet again by interrupting all programming and the use of up to date radars I am sure prevented more loss of life.
Nicola van Kuilenburg, Carbondale, Illinois USA

Well we didn't get the really bad weather, but we're on the fringe of it .. Heavy rain, High Winds, and a late Snow....and a balmy 39o F
Kenn Trowbridge, Bitely, Michigan

The front came through and ripped up a bunch of trees on my college campus. We didn't have any tornadoes, though the sirens went off for half an hour. The wind is still blustery and rattling all our windows more than twelve hours later.
hannah, St. Louis, MO, US

My area (the Springfield area of Illinois) is still recuperating after the tornados that came thru 12 March 2006 and the blizzard one week later. I personally saw a tornado about 1.5 miles from my condominium at Rt.4 and Mansion drive (in front of my condo) and also at Plumber and Ptarmigan drives in the Foxx Creek Estates subdivision where I live. I was lucky. I am only missing some soffit and fascia. Others were not so lucky around me and lost their roofs. It was very unnerving when the lights went out, the sky turned a weird colour green, and it sounded like a freight train was headed towards my house. Thankfully, in my subdivision, there were no deaths.
Terry L., Chatham, Illinois, USA

We were just preparing to leave my in-laws when we heard that the bad weather was getting close. After we put our baby in her car seat we started pulling down the driveway when a wall of water just started coming towards us, the trees were swaying back and forth, and then lightening hit a tree in a neighbours yard behind us. We quickly backed back to the house and we went into the basement as a little hail and tree limbs started coming down. It was all over in about 15 minutes. Other than a bunch of tree branches on the roof and the tree in the neighbours yard, there wasn't much damage at my in-laws. On our way home we saw many trees and large limbs lying on some side roads. We did see one light standard had come down on a van. Our electricity was out until about 3am this morning. The electric company said that its peak (in the St. Louis metro area) there were about 275,000 people without electricity.
Randy Davis, Saint Louis, Missouri - USA

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