Midwest storms kill two, injure dozens

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The Independent US

A quickly moving storm spawned tornadoes, high winds and tennis ball-sized hail from Texas to Michigan, killing one person in Texas and injuring at least two dozen others. A 4-year-old Kansas girl died earlier in the day in aftermath of a tornado.

A quickly moving storm spawned tornadoes, high winds and tennis ball-sized hail from Texas to Michigan, killing one person in Texas and injuring at least two dozen others. A 4-year-old Kansas girl died earlier in the day in aftermath of a tornado.

One person died in Hill County, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of Dallas, when a twister touched down Friday evening, said Cpl. Charlie Morgan with the Texas Department of Public Safety. The storm ripped roofs off houses and flipped mobile homes as the storm moved through.

In St. Nazianz, Wisconsin, straight-line wind gusts up to 110 mph (180 kph) and hail larger than tennis balls caused heavy damage to a mobile home park Friday night, where several people were injured, said Nancy Crowley, Manitowoc County Emergency Government spokeswoman.

"The trailer court disappeared," she said.

About 28 people were injured as the storm hit east-central Wisconsin. One person was in critical condition.

"I'm still shaking," said St. Nazianz resident Magdaline Steffen. "It got totally black outside, so I went into the basement. All of a sudden everything shook. I can't even describe it."

Storms also swept through Illinois with rain, high winds, hail and at least two tornadoes in the southern part of the state. Storms in the Chicago area contributed to flight delays and cancelations at O'Hare and Midway airports. There were reports of minor damage throughout the region.

Thunderstorms pounded the northern half of Michigan's lower peninsula, leaving behind a few downed trees. Several counties reported hail, with the most extreme of baseball-sized hail reported in Huron County.

Earlier Friday, a 4-year-old girl in Tonganoxie, Kansas, died after a porch roof collapsed onto her. The roof was believed to have been damaged by a tornado that hit Thursday evening.

In Tonganoxie, officials estimated up to 200 homes and a dozen businesses were damaged. An elementary school was closed because damage to its roof allowed water to seep into classrooms.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack toured the area of northeastern Iowa hit by a dozen tornadoes Thursday night and declared disaster areas in Black Hawk and Buchanan counties. Three storm-related injuries were reported.

"It's devastation," he said. "I've never seen homes, farmsteads, farm buildings quite as pulverized as those which we've seen today."

Meanwhile, in Jefferson City, Missouri, President Bill Clinton declared two eastern Missouri counties federal disaster areas Friday, days after heavy rains caused flash floods.

Residents in Franklin and Jefferson counties are now eligible for federal grants and low-interest loans to help rebuild their homes and businesses, said Jerry Nachtigal, spokesman for Gov. Mel Carnahan.

As much as 15 inches (40 centimeters) of rain fell Saturday night and Sunday morning, causing severe flash flooding and killing two people who became trapped in vehicles by floodwaters.

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