A group of tornadoes struck the Midwest on Tuesday night that caused incredible damage and killed at least nine people. The tornadoes occurred in five states, with three deaths coming in Illinois and one in Missouri. The town hit hardest by the storms was Branson, Missouri, the entertainment capital of the state. At least 32 people were treated for injuries in the town of Branson. The states of Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri saw 15 confirmed tornadoes touchdown during the overnight hours, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.
One person was killed when a tornado struck a mobile home park in Buffalo, Missouri. That tornado also injured 13 people, according to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. In Harrisburg, Illinois, three people were killed by a tornado. The town sits 50 miles southwest from Evansville, Indiana. The tornado struck Harrisburg close to 5 a.m. on Wednesday. Sheriff officers are working from house to house in Branson searching for victims, which means the final death count could climb in that one town.
Mike Griffin, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said that a couple dozen injuries have already been reported and confirmed as a result of the storms. Griffin also told media outlets that storms caused damage to the city’s most famous theaters. Harveyville, Kansas, was struck by a tornado around 9 p.m. that was significantly strong.
“The town was taken out by about 40 percent of the buildings in the community,” Sharon Watson said. Watson is the director of public affairs for the Kansas Adjutant General’s Office. “A significant amount of it has been destroyed a lot of homes damaged, a lot of buildings down including a church and an apartment complex.”
Authorities on the scene also told media outlets that one person who was trapped in the rubble of a building had to be extricated from the debris. That person was taken to a hospital and was listed in critical condition at last check.
“Just like a shotgun went off,” said one man from Harveyville.
Governor Sam Brownback from Kansas has declared a state of emergency because of the storms. The storms that rolled through Kansas tore down power lines across the state and closed highways because of downed trees. According to the National Weather Service, there were also tornadoes of smaller force that touched down in other areas of Kansas, close to the town of Hutchinson that did not leave as much damage and destruction in their paths.