Search for victims after deadly tornadoes in US

March 5th, 2012 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, March 5 (IANS/EFE) Authorities in the US Midwest continued Sunday to search for victims after a series of tornadoes killed at least 39 people, left dozens injured and caused considerable damage across more than 10 states over the past couple of days.

The winds in the chain of tornadoes that formed Friday after a week of heavy storms were clocked at up to 257 kph in some places, the National Weather Service said.

A powerful system of storms spawned a total of 95 tornadoes in a huge strip reaching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, and the twisters caused substantial damage throughout the region that authorities are still evaluating.

President Barack Obama Saturday spoke with the governors of the states of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio - those that were hit the hardest by the storms - to offer them federal aid and express the US government’s condolences to the relatives of the victims.

In Indiana, authorities determined that 14 people had been killed by the tornadoes, which also damaged hundreds of homes, knocked down power lines and caused communications blackouts.

In Kentucky, where Gov. Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency, the toll stands at 20.

Five people died in Laurel County, four in Morgan County, three in Kenton County, and two in Johnson, Menifee and Lawrence Counties, the state Department of Public Health said.

The toll in Morgan County was later raised to six, the head of the search team, Raymond VanCleave, told the daily Lexington Herald-Leader.

In Ohio, where Clermont County authorities said that three deaths had occurred, the small town of Moscow with a population of about 250 was destroyed.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency said on Saturday that one person had died in Tallapoosa County and two people were injured, the daily Washington Post reported, while in Georgia an 83-year-old woman died when she was trying to get to shelter.

Just a few days into March, this month could be the deadliest in US history as a result of tornadoes, according to figures compiled by the National Weather Service, which says that in March 1994, 40 people were killed by tornadoes.


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