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Saturday, March 03, 2012

U.S. Tornado Outbreak Kills More Than 30

Scores of tornadoes ripped through at least seven states from the Ohio Valley to the southern and southeastern U.S. on Friday- killing at least 31 people- according to the latest ASSOCIATED PRESS report  Saturday morning.

At least a dozen people are still reported missing.

Hundreds of people were hurt- with injuries ranging from minor to critical being treated by overwhelmed resources in the sticken areas.

The activity began early Friday morning with severe thunderstorms in western Missouri- then spread east and south through the day into early Saturday morning.

The first tornadoes struck northern Alabama during the mid-morning hours- then other thunderstorms moved into or developed in western Illinois and raced eastward at speeds up to 70 miles per hour..

As reported here at CSW Friday- hardest hit was southern Indiana- where the towns of Henryville and Marysville were heavily-damaged or virtually destroyed by large tornadoes.

Witnesses said Henryville- population about 1900 and birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Harlan (Colonel) Sanders- was struck by two tornadoes that came minutes apart.

The city's high and junior high schools were heavily-damaged- and on Saturday a National Weather Service survey team rated the Henryville tornado as "an EF-4-" second highest on the scale of five.

One person died in Henryville.

Fourteen people were reported dead in Indiana by midnight Saturday.

Rescue crews searched through the rubble as darkness fell over those middle Ohio River Valley areas damaged that stretched from extreme southeastern Illinois east and south through Indiana- Ohio- Kentucky- West Virginia and Tennessee.

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman OK listed more than 700 reports of severe weather across the central and eastern U.S. early Saturday.

Of those reports- 94 were listed as tornadoes.

Fortunately- the tornadoes missed medium to large cities.

The powerful storm system was also producing flash flooding in West Virginia- Mississippi and Georgia into early Saturday morning- with snows in the Upper Great Lakes north and eastward.

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