At least 38 people have been killed and one small town devastated as more than 80 tornadoes swept across the central United States. It was the second deadly string of tornadoes this week.
Powerful storms stretching from the US Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes in the north killed at least 38 people over the weekend, blowing apart homes and flattening buildings. Some 83 tornadoes were reported to the National Weather Service in eight states across the country.
The week's twister total now stands at 133. Among the worst hit was the US state of Kentucky were authorities confirmed the deaths of 19 people. A further 14 people were killed in Indiana, three in Ohio and one in Alabama.
"The reports on the telephone were that Marysville is gone," said Major Chuck Adams, the local sheriff department's spokesman.
Indiana hit hard
Meanwhile, aerial footage from a TV news helicopter in Henryville, Indiana showed numerous wrecked houses, some with their roofs torn off and surrounded by debris. A high school in town is also believed to have been destroyed.
Both Henryville and Marysville were home to some 2,000 people. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said the devastation from the tornadoes was some of the worst he has seen.
"We're not unfamiliar with Mother Nature's wrath out here in Indiana," Daniels told the American broadcaster CNN. "But this is about as serious as we've seen in the years since I've been in this job,"
The outbreak comes just days after an earlier round of storms struck six states in the Midwest and South, killing 13 people.
A total of 545 people were killed by tornados last year, making it the deadliest tornado season since 1936.
slk, ccp/ai (AFP, AP)