19 Nov 2013

Trail of rubble left by tornadoes

8:50 am on 19 November 2013

Residents in four midwest US states have been sifting through piles of rubble after a series of tornadoes that killed at least seven people on Sunday.

An unusually powerful fall storm spawned reports of 81 twisters in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio on Sunday.

Powerful winds and heavy rain also soaked a dozen states.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declared a state of emergency in seven counties.

The town of Washington, Illinois was among the hardest-hit with entire blocks of homes flattened.

"I walked through one of the hardest hit areas and four streets of homes are gone,'' said Mayor Gary Manier. ''I couldn't tell what street I was on."

In Kokomo, Indiana the storm pushed a two story house off its foundation and into the middle of the street.

"It all caved in on us," Michael Gardner, 21, told the Kokomo Tribune. "We were buried in rubble."

Some 55 people were treated at St. Francis hospital in Peoria, the biggest town in central Illinois. Of those, Sixteen needed to be admitted, the hospital said.

The National Weather Service said the storm weakened overnight, but still caused damage as it continued east through New York and Philadelphia.