Dozens of tornadoes killed at least six people, injured many others and left devastating damage in parts of Illinois.
The powerful tornadoes have swept through the Midwest, destroying buildings and overturning vehicles in the states of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
Brookport, Illinois, in Massac County near the Kentucky line, was particularly hard hit. At least two people were confirmed to have died, and police with dogs were going door to door to search for trapped residents. With roads entering the city closed by debris and downed power lines, Brookport authorities imposed a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew.
At least four other people were killed in Illinois, the state Emergency Management Agency told NBC News. An 80-year-old man and his 78-year-old sister were killed near New Minden, according to Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger, and unidentified victims were confirmed dead in Washington city and in Unionville.
Dozens of tornadoes killed at least six people, injured many others and left devastating damage in parts of Illinois
Forecasters said people in 10 states had been at risk. Hailstones the size of tennis balls have been reported.
The storm was so fast-moving – with winds of up to 68 mph – that weather services issued warnings for people not to wait until they saw the weather change.
It is continuing its way east.
November is ordinarily one of the quietest months in the tornado calendar, meaning these storms are unusually destructive for this time of year.
About 80 reports of tornadoes had come in by late Sunday, said the National Weather Service – though a spokesman cautioned that multiple reporting meant the confirmed number might be about 30 or 40.
A new series of tornadoes has swept through the state of Oklahoma, killing at least five people, including a mother and child, officials say.
The tornadoes struck near the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, where 24 people were killed by a violent tornado nearly two weeks ago.
The latest storm struck during Friday’s evening rush hour, trapping many people in cars and causing traffic chaos.
More than 60,000 homes lost power and heavy rain has caused severe flooding.
Many streets were flooded – up to 4 ft in some places.
A police spokeswoman said the mother and child who died were in their car on a major highway – Interstate 40 – near Oklahoma City.
Dozens of lorries were overturned on the highway.
Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said that two of the deaths occurred in Union City and one was in El Reno, west of Oklahoma City.
The tornadoes struck near the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, where 24 people were killed by a violent tornado nearly two weeks ago
Dozens of people have been hurt, with five of them in a critical condition.
Among those who took to the roads to flee the storm was 30-year-old Brandi Vanalphen.
“What got me scared was being stuck in traffic with sirens going off,” she said.
“I started seeing power flashes to the north… I started driving on the shoulder. People started driving over the grass.”
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said: “For reasons that are not clear to me, more people took to the roads, more than we expected. Everyone acted differently in this storm, and as a result, it created an extremely dangerous situation.”
“I think we are still a little shaken by what happened in Moore. We are still burying children and victims, so our emotions are still strong,” he added.
Meteorologists said the tornadoes were less severe than those that struck in May.
Oklahoma is in part of the US Midwest known as Tornado Alley. Some 1,200 tornadoes strike each year, though most are relatively small.
Two people died in Oklahoma after several tornadoes have hit a large swathe of the US Midwest.
Storms were reported in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The deaths occurred in Oklahoma’s Woodward county, officials said.
The National Weather Service had warned there could be further tornadoes early Sunday morning, with concern they could strike as people slept.
But it said that the chance they would be very strong or long-lived was lower than the previous evening.
Forecasters had warned that the worst of the weather would hit around nightfall.
Two people died in Oklahoma after several tornadoes have hit a large swathe of the US Midwest
Officials feared people would not hear warnings as they slept and said that it was more difficult for weather spotters to track the funnel clouds overnight.
In Woodward in Oklahoma, a block of flats was also damaged by the twister, after residents were caught by surprise as the storm sirens had failed to sound, Reuters news agency quoted the local mayor as saying.
One tornado destroyed large parts of the town of Thurman, in Iowa, on Saturday, but there were no major injuries, the NWS said.
“It lasted three to four minutes probably – what seemed like an eternity,” one man from Thurman told the broadcaster ABC.
“The next thing I know, the house was shaking and I could feel it lifting and it was over that quick,” another man said.
Another tornado caused widespread power outages and other damage in the city of Wichita, Kansas, according to Associated Press.
The roof of a hospital in Creston, southwest of Des Moines, was damaged, but patients and staff were not hurt, AP reported.
Tornado experts had said that storms on Saturday could be a “life-threatening event”.
US tornadoes have already killed at least 39 people in 2012.
An outbreak of deadly twisters hit the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Alabama in early March.
At the start of April the Dallas-Fort Worth area was badly hit, with hundreds of flights being disrupted but no-one injured or killed.
Millions of people from Dallas and Forth Worth are being urged to seek shelter immediately as dramatic news footage shows trucks and other massive debris being thrown across the skies in Texas.
National Weather Service said storm spotters and radar revealed separate tornadoes south of Dallas and Fort Worth.
Incredible news footage of the twister shows a massive funnel cloud and tractor trailers being launched above the area.
The weather service says the tornado south of Fort Worth caused “considerable damage” near Cleburne.
The agency said in its warning: “National Weather Service meteorologists confirmed a large and dangerous tornado near Hutchins. This is a dangerous situation … seek shelter now!! This is a tornado emergency for Dallas and Hutchins!”
Dallas tornado tosses trucks across the skies as dangerous twister targets Texas
Local television footage shows a large funnel cloud on the ground near Interstate 35 south of Dallas.
The weather service says the “large and extremely dangerous” tornado was near Lancaster about 20 miles south of Dallas and moving north.
The weather service is also reporting other developing tornadoes as a band of severe storms moves through the area.
A tornado watch is in effect for most of the counties in north Texas.
Powerful storms and tornadoes have killed at least 28 people in the US states of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, destroying homes, tearing roofs from schools, damaging a maximum security prison and wiping one Indiana town entirely off the map, officials say.
Local police confirmed that 14 people died as tornadoes swept across three counties in Indiana.
Twelve more died in Kentucky, with two fatalities in Ohio. Earlier, tornadoes hit Alabama, causing widespread damage.
“We are no match for Mother Nature at her worst,” said Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
Gov. Mitch Daniels is due to visit affected areas on Saturday.
The storms – stretched across a vast part of the US Midwest – came days after another system killed 13 people.
The first deaths on Friday were reported in Indiana, where the small town of Henryville was badly damaged.
Reports of extreme damage included a roof torn off a high school.
An official from Clark County sheriff’s department described the nearby town of Marysville, Indiana – located close to Henryville – as “completely gone”.
Tornadoes have destroyed towns in Southern Indiana, including Henryville, pictured, and neighboring Marysville, which is “completely gone”
Jenn Helvering, 24, said she saw a storm cell cross the highway as she drove towards Henryville. She then came across wreckage, including an overturned tractor-trailer, alongside the road near the town.
The woman, who posted a series of images online said she saw “what seemed to be a funnel”, when driving between two storm cells.
“The weather was terrible. I suddenly saw a tornado coming towards me, I could see it swirling, then I saw one behind me. I was stuck in between two tornadoes – my dad directed me while I was driving between the two tornadoes. It was truly terrifying.”
In Salem, Indiana, a toddler was found injured in a field after tornadoes passed through, reports said before being take to a children’s hospital, where she was later identified.
A family of four were found dead in Washington County, Indiana, Sheriff Claude Combs told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Meanwhile, in Henryville, authorities found a man dead inside his vehicle. It was the first confirmed death in Clark County.
“We’ve got total devastation in the north-central part of the county [and] widespread damage from the west to the east,” Clark County Sheriff Clark Adam told CNN.
Neighbouring Marysville was totally destroyed.
“Marysville is completely gone,” said Chuck Adams of Clark County Sheriff’s Department.
As Friday’s storms grew in intensity, the National Weather Service issued severe tornado warnings for a host of states.
By 19:30 EST tornado warnings were in effect across swathes of Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, with parts of West Virginia and Florida also under advisory.
In a strongly worded warning, the NWS said residents in the path of the Indiana storm were facing an “extremely dangerous and life threatening situation”.
“If you are in the path of this tornado… take cover immediately!” the NWS said.
Additional tornadoes were reported near Mumfordville, Kentucky and Memphis, Indiana, as well in southern Ohio.
Local TV broadcaster WHAS in Kentucky showed a storm-tracking team driving through Mumfordville, speeding away from a potential tornado as golf-ball sized hailstones fell from the sky.
As the evening progressed more details of the scale of destruction began to emerge, with officials in Kentucky and Ohio confirmed fatalities there.
Earlier this week, 13 people died after twisters swept through Missouri, Kansas, Illinois and Tennessee.
On Friday morning five people were taken to hospital and 11 houses were flattened in the town of Athens, Alabama by an apparent tornado in the Huntsville area.
More than 20 school networks in Alabama closed early on Friday because of the weather warning.
Local media reports that about 9,000 people may have lost power in the area around Huntsville.
A possible twister also hit a maximum security jail near Huntsville, although officials said inmates remained secure.
The severe weather warning will remain in place until about midnight on Friday, according to local media.
The town of Harrisburg, Illinois, was particularly badly damaged on Wednesday by the storm system.
Six residents died there, while three deaths were reported in Missouri, three in Tennessee and another in Kansas.
Powerful storms hit Alabama early this morning in an area that has not yet fully recovered from tornadoes that left the community in despair last year.
At least two people were killed and heavy damage was reported just hours after tornadoes struck portions of Arkansas, downing trees and power lines and leaving thousands without electricity there.
The predawn storms struck the Birmingham area, with the towns of Center Point and Trussville just to the northeast of the city being particularly hard hit, emergency management officials said.
The devastation prompted Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency for the entire state.
Fatalities were reported in the towns of Oak Grove and Clay, but those weren’t the only towns affected.
“Center Point was hit pretty badly,” Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency spokesman Mark Kelly said.
An emergency management spokesman told the Associated Press that more than 100 people have been injured in central Alabama by the line of storms.
Homes were flattened, windows were blown out of cars and roofs were peeled back in the middle of the night in the community of Oak Grove near Birmingham. As dawn broke, residents surveyed the damage and officials used chainsaws to clear fallen trees.
Powerful storms hit Alabama early this morning in an area that has not yet fully recovered from tornadoes that left the community in despair last year
Chief Deputy Randy Christian told the Birmingham News: “The hardest hit area at this time includes Oak Grove and Center Point through Clay and Trussville. Several homes are reported destroyed and numerous reports of injuries have come in to our call center.”
Jefferson County EMA official, Bob Ammons said: “We have major, major damage.”
Chief Deputy Coroner Pat Curry told The Birmingham News that those killed in the storms were identified as 16-year-old Christina Nicole Heichelbech of Clay, and 83-year-old Bobby Frank Sims of Oak Grove.
The Birmingham News reported that Christina Nicole Heichelbech’s body was found among debris next to her family’s pool after her house was destroyed.
Bobby Frank Sims was found dead after his entire home was flung about 200 feet away from its foundation by the force of the storms.
Oak Grove was hit hard in April when tornadoes ravaged Alabama, killing about 240 people, though officials said none of the same neighborhoods were struck again. Officials had to reschedule a meeting Monday to receive a study on Alabama’s response to the spring tornadoes.
Yasamie Richardson, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said: “Some roads are impassable, there are a number of county roads where you have either debris down, trees down, damage from homes.”
Stevie Sanders woke up around 3:30 a.m. and realized bad weather was on the way. She, her parents and sister hid in the laundry room of their brick home as the wind howled and trees started cracking outside.
“You could feel the walls shaking and you could hear a loud crash. After that it got quiet, and the tree had fallen through my sister’s roof,” said Stevie Sanders.
The family was OK, and her father, Greg Sanders, spent the next hours raking his roof and pulling away pieces of broken lumber.
“It could have been so much worse,” he said.
“It’s like they say, we were just blessed.”
In Clanton, about 50 miles south of Birmingham, rescuers were responding to reports of a trailer turned over with people trapped, City Clerk Debbie Orange said.
In Mississippi, the National Weather Service was tracking a thunderstorm to the southwest of Hattiesburg that was producing wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour.
These were the latest in a series of powerful January storms to have torn through the Southeast.
On Sunday, twisters downed trees and power lines in Arkansas leaving thousands without power.
A tornado tore into an area outside of Fordyce, some 70 miles south of state capital Little Rock, damaging houses and felling trees and power lines as it moved, according to Accuweather.com.
Accuweather carried reports of five other twisters touching the ground in Arkansas, which was pelted by soft-ball sized hailstones and buffeted by winds gusting up to 70 miles per hour.
As of late Sunday, roughly 13,400 homes were without power across Arkansas as the storms intensified, according to utility provider Entergy Arkansas, Inc.