Toll rises in deadly US storms

2012-03-03 20:00
Henryville - A string of violent storms from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes obliterated small towns and cut off rural communities as an early season tornado outbreaks killed more than 34 people and there are fears the death toll could rise.

Massive thunderstorms, predicted by forecasters for days, threw off dozens of tornadoes, hitting the states of Kentucky and Indiana particularly hard.

Twisters that crushed entire blocks of homes knocked out cellphones and landlines alike, ripped power lines from broken poles and tossed cars, school buses and tractor-trailers onto roadways made impassable by debris.

Weather that put millions of people at risk on Friday killed 31, but both the scale of the devastation and the breadth of the storms made an immediate assessment of the havoc's full extent all but impossible.

In Kentucky, the national guard and state police headed out to search wreckage for an unknown number of missing.

Authorities in Indiana searched dark county roads connecting rural communities that officials said were "completely gone."

Friday's outbreak came two days after an earlier round of storms killed 13 people in the Midwest and South, and forecasters at the national weather service's storm prediction centre had said the day would be one of a handful this year that warranted its highest risk level.



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