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Storms wreak havoc in Midwest US, killing at least 12

[ 2012-03-02 10:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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Tornadoes spawned by a powerful storm system roared through midwestern United States in the early morning darkness on Wednesday, flattening entire blocks of homes in small-town Illinois and Kansas and killing at least 12 people.

An apparent twister cut through Branson, Missouri, just before 1 am, and seemed to hopscotch up the city's main roadway, ripping roofs off hotels and damaging some of the city's famed country music theaters dangerously close to the start of the heavy tourism season. At least 37 people were reported hurt, mostly with cuts and bruises.

At least six people were killed in the southern Illinois town of Harrisburg after a storm leveled much of the community of 9,000 people.

In Missouri, one person was killed in a trailer park in the town of Buffalo, with two more fatalities reported in other areas of the state.

Three people were reported killed in eastern Tennessee.

The tornadoes were spawned by a powerful storm system that blew down from the Rockies on Tuesday and was headed across the Ohio and Tennessee river valleys toward the Mid-Atlantic region.

Corey Mead, lead forecaster at the US Storm Prediction Center, said a broad cold front was slamming into warm, humid air over much of the eastern half of the nation.

From Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, at least 16 tornado sightings were reported from Nebraska and Kansas across southern Missouri to Illinois and Kentucky, according to the storm center, an arm of the National Weather Service.

In Branson, a country music showcase, it was difficult to believe there weren't more serious injuries. A small mall was nearly demolished. The Legends Theater, the Andy Williams Moon River Theater and the Branson Variety Theater all sustained significant damage.

The Veterans Memorial Museum was in shambles, and a small military jet that sat in front of the museum was blown apart.

Meanwhile, late winter storms forced school and road closures from Seattle to upstate New York, but the snow was largely welcomed in California as it suffers through one of the driest winters in history.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Storms wreak havoc in Midwest US, killing at least 12

About the broadcaster:

Storms wreak havoc in Midwest US, killing at least 12

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.