32 killed as tornadoes rip US (Third Lead)

March 4th, 2012 - 12:34 am ICT by IANS  

Chicago, March 3 (IANS) Tornadoes spawned by a powerful storm system swept across the Midwest and Southeast US, wiping out two small towns and killing at least 32 people.

In Indiana, 15 people were killed. The entire town of Marysville was destroyed, and nearby Henryville also suffered extreme damage, Xinhua reported.

In Kentucky, the storms claimed 13 lives and inflicted extensive property damage. Three more died in Ohio, and one in Alabama.

Storm warnings were being issued across the Midwest and the Southeast, with schools, government offices and businesses shutting down ahead of the storms.

There was “extensive damage” to the Henryville Junior-Senior High School in the Clark County, Indiana, according to Maj. Chuck Adams of the county sheriff’s department.

The school building’s roof was torn off, with parts of the walls knocked down and windows blown out.

Students who remained at the school when the disaster struck suffered only minor injuries such as cuts and bruises.

The death toll could rise as the search for survivors continue, the CNN said.

The twisters splintered homes, damaged a prison and tossed around vehicles across the Midwest and South regions, officials said.

Saturday started with large swaths of the South still battered by heavy rain and parts of western Florida, southern Georgia and southern Alabama remaining under tornado watch.

National Weather Service meteorologist John Gordon said they had about “half a dozen reports of tornadoes on the ground” as well as reports about “significant damage”. He warned that the worst might come.

The storm system has also buffeted the south, hitting Alabama and Tennessee with apparent tornadoes that left houses shattered and businesses damaged.

Properties suffered extensive damage, with lots of trees torn down, and a definite path of damage was left by the tornadoes. Residents were assessing damage to a high school, a prison and other locales.

Authorities in Alabama and Tennessee confirmed dozens of weather-related injuries, but no deaths.

The first tornado outbreak of the week began Tuesday night and left 13 dead across Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee, and battered parts of Kentucky as well.

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