Killer tornadoes 'rip US states apart'
Killer tornadoes 'rip US states apart', Emergency Declared As Tornadoes Kill 12 In US, Strong storms have obliterated homes and businesses in the US Midwest, killing at least 12 people. At least 12 people are dead after tornadoes tore across six states in the US Midwest, obliterating homes and businesses. Six of the victims were killed when a house was lifted up and fell on them as the powerful storms ripped through the city of Harrisburg, Illinois .
Television images from the town, which has a population of around 10,000, showed collapsed buildings and overturned trucks, with mattresses and other debris caught in tree branches.
"(The tornado) cut a path of destruction that was just devastating," Harrisburg mayor Eric Gregg told CNN.
"There are semis toppled, cars thrown into lakes, and everything else. It's nothing like I've ever seen and hope to never see again," Mr Gregg said.
A Walmart and another shopping centre were smashed, an apartment building was hit and a hospital was damaged. The city sustained millions of dollars in damage, the mayor said.
The severe weather swept into Tennessee overnight, killing one person in Cumberland County and one in DeKalb County, a Tennessee emergency official and an ambulance director said.
Three more people were killed in Missouri when suspected twisters struck several mobile home parks.
A man in Stoddard County in southeast Missouri was killed when his mobile home was destroyed. His wife was severely injured.
"It looks like it just exploded," an emergency services official said of the couple's home.
The governors of Illinois, Missouri and Kansas declared emergencies.
The severe weather tracked through Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, according to the National Weather Service.
The Weather Service said there had been preliminary reports of 18 tornadoes, with winds of up to 200mph, touching down across the region since late Tuesday.
Forecasters said there was no relief in sight as the stormy weather headed east to the Mid-Atlantic states and parts of the Southeast.
There were tornado watches issued for parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.
Last year, tornado outbreaks caused 550 US deaths, one of the deadliest in the nation's history and the most in nearly a century, according to the Weather Service.
The highest death tolls were from an April outbreak in Alabama and Mississippi that claimed 364 lives, and a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, on May 22 that killed 161 people.
Twisters caused \$28.7bn (£18bn) in damage last year, according to the US National Climatic Data Centre .
There had been two tornado-related deaths in 2012 before Tuesday, both in Alabama on January 23.