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Clean-up begins in the U.S. Midwest

Staff writers

March 1, 2012 — Clean-up efforts begin after deadly tornadoes kill at least 12 people in the U.S. Midwest.

Homes completely destroyed in Kentucky
Homes completely destroyed in Kentucky

The National Weather Service says the violent weather tracked through Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky Tuesday and Wednesday. More than 20 tornadoes have been reported and widespread damage covers the region.

According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, at least 10 people were killed when an EF-4 tornado touched down in Harrisburg, Illinois early Wednesday.

Search crews were also going door to door Wednesday morning after deadly storms ripped through Missouri during the overnight hours. Officials say at least two people were killed in the storm as the twister hit a mobile-home park south of Buffalo, Missouri.

In Kentucky, buildings were completely destroyed as powerful winds ripped roofs off homes. At least eight people were injured in the wake of the storm.

Extensive damage at Branson's main strip
Extensive damage at Branson's main strip

Several injuries were also reported in the town of Branson, where there were initial reports of people being trapped in their homes. Significant structural damage occurred in the downtown area including at the famous musical theatres there.

The Weather Channel's Mike Bettes was in Branson on Wednesday and said business owners were doing their best to to get things back up and running.

"On the main Branson strip, power crews were trying to get the poles corrected, upright and get the power restored," says Bettes.

"There's an Outback restaurant down there and they have power and they want to get people back in as quickly as possible."

Bettes adds that while tornadoes aren't completely out of the question at this time of year, this is definitely an early start to the tornado season.

"We used to think of it as a March, April, May or even May, April, June type of event, but now we're seeing a different pattern change. Temperatures are warmer, humidities are higher, you can actually tap into that Gulf moisture, which often times you can't in February."

Still, regardless of the season or month, officials urge residents to take precaution and be prepared at all times.

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