Three killed as tornadoes rip across US midwest

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The Independent US

Tornadoes swept through portions of the Midwestern United States, killing at least three people in Missouri and blowing roofs off homes in Illinois and Arkansas.

The storm was the first of several that passed through eastern Kansas and across most of Missouri yesterday. High winds lifted a cargo container off the airfield at Kansas City International Airport and blew it into several vehicles.

Hail - the size of baseballs - was reported in several north-west Missouri counties.

The severe weather followed a powerful storm that ripped through southern Missouri and southern Illinois late on Saturday, killing a married couple whose car was blown off the road and destroying homes along a path of more than 20 miles south of St. Louis.

At the University of Kansas, more than half the buildings on the campus were damaged, and Provost David Shulenberger said classes were cancelled today because of safety concerns about debris falling from roofs.

Yesterday, a woman was killed in western Missouri as she sheltered from a tornado in her mobile home south of Sedalia, Missouri. Two other people were missing last night and six were injured.

John Gagan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri, said there would be no way of knowing the scope of the damage until much later.

"We do not know the extent of this, since it's ongoing and fresh," he said. "Reports are coming in as we speak, but we won't know how bad it is until the light of day."

Tornadoes also touched down yesterday in Oklahoma, Arkansas and in central Illinois. There were no immediate reports of injuries in those states although some homes sustained heavy damage.