[QODLink]
Weather
Deadly tornadoes rip through the US Midwest
Deadly tornadoes hit the US. An early start to the 2012 season. At least 3 people killed across 6 states.
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 09:21
A neighbourhood lies destroyed after a tornado tore through Harrisburg, Illinois on 29th February 2012  [AFP]

Tornadoes have killed at least 13 people after massive storms ripped through the US Midwest on Wednesday. Homes were smashed, cars were tossed into lakes and trees were uprooted as the powerful systems whipped up violent winds, hail and funnel clouds.

The swathe of destruction extended from Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska into Kentucky. Harrisburg, Illinois was hardest hit after a deadly twister stayed on the ground there for several kilometres and was estimated to be up to 100m wide. At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured in this town of around 10,000.

The tornado had a preliminary rating of EF4, the second most powerful on the rating scale, according to the National Weather Service. Less than 1% of all tornadoes reach this intensity.

There were over 30 reports of tornadoes across the six affected states since the storms began late on Tuesday. There were also severe thunderstorms across the south as the tail end of the same storm system moved through Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. The worst of the weather is now clearing away from the Eastern Seaboard.

These storms were slightly earlier than usual but by no means unprecedented and they often miss highly populated areas altogether. If the Harrisburg tornado had passed 100 km or so to the north or to south it would have simply left a scar across broad open Plains. This twister was the deadliest to hit Illinois since an April 2004 tornado killed eight people in Utica.

The early start to this year’s tornado season does suggest that this could be another very active year. In 2011, tornadoes killed 550 people in the United States. It was the deadliest tornado season since 1936 and the third worst on record.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.