Deadly tornadoes kill at least 36 across Midwest, South

GlobalPost

Officials in four states reported a total of 36 people killed by violent storms and tornadoes that strafed parts of the midwestern and southern US, according to Reuters.

The news agency said 18 people had died in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio and another in Alabama after fast-moving tornadoes ripped through towns, destroying homes and property and damaging a school and a prison.

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"We've learned so much and improved so much in disaster preparedness, warning systems and responder communications but still we are no match for Mother Nature at her worst," said Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who will be visiting some of the worst-hit areas in the southeast of the state today.

Those killed in Indiana included a four-year-old child and her grandparents. The full extent of damage in Kentucky was difficult to assess since roads in several counties are blocked.

Hundreds of National Guard troops and emergency workers were searching for survivors early Saturday, CNN reported. The network described some rare cases of success: one 2-year-old girl was found alive and alone in a field in Salem, Indiana, while thermal imaging and rescue dogs helped locate a missing 9-year-old boy in the nearby town of Henryville.

Meanwhile in Tennessee, 29 people were injured and dozens of buildings damaged, the Wall Street Journal reported. More than 10 counties reported tornadoes. 

Another two tornadoes hit Alabama, where over 100 homes were damaged and at least 40 completely destroyed in the north of the state, according to local authorities.

Friday was a day of exceptional tornado activity. By 10 PM, the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center had issued 269 tornado warnings, 80 more than the 189 issued in the whole of February.

Earlier this week, a series of tornadoes killed 13 people in Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee.

According to Reuters

"This week's violent storms raised fears that 2012 will be another bad year for tornadoes after 550 deaths in the United States were blamed on twisters last year, the deadliest year in nearly a century, according to the Weather Service."

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