18 dead after multiple twisters strike US Midwest

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Monday, April 3, 2006

Yesterday's tornadoes are merely a small part of the Midwest's current run of bad weather.

High winds and multiple tornadoes caused destruction across the American Midwest yesterday, killing 18 people when they hit five states in the early evening, although that figure is expected to rise.

In Dyer County, Tennessee alone, 12 people were killed, and in Gibson County, Tennessee, a further three were lost, bringing the death toll up to 15 in that state alone. The remaining three lives were lost in Missouri as a result of high winds, although the freak weather also hit the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois.

Storm damage from Dyer, Tennessee following the tornado which struck the area April 3. At least eight were killed in Gibson County.

When asked about the storms which caused chaos in Tennessee, Dyer County Sherriff Jeffrey Holt said, "This hit about 7:40 last night, so the warnings were out. They were being tracked all the way across Arkansas and Missouri as it was coming in. We had plenty of warnings, I think, just the amount of destruction in the area is what caused our fatality count to get so high. Destruction is almost absolute total destruction along some of the path of this. There's just nothing left of houses but foundation."

Numerous power failures were reported across the affected areas, with some county authorities reporting that the blackouts may go on for several days.

The flag of Tennessee, the state with the highest death toll following yesterday's twisters.

A dispatcher in Pemiscot County, Missouri informed the press that, as of Monday morning, some people were still trapped in their houses as a result of the storms.

In Illinois, tornadoes touched down across at least seven counties according to local emergency officials, but no-one was severely injured or killed. The Emergency Management spokesperson for Illinois Patti Thompson reported that a large storm front which spanned the breadth of America from Illinois southwards was the cause of last night's dramatic weather.

In the state of Ohio, a Wilmington-based meteorologist informed members of the Associated Press that "In every county in southwest Ohio there has been some type of damage."

Repair costs for damage across the affected area are expected to be six-figure sums, and extensive work to replace destroyed segments of the infrastructure such as gas and power supplies is already underway, said officials in all seven of the states hit this morning. The current death toll is expected to rise today, with at least one more unconfirmed death reported in Missouri already.

Sources

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