At least six people died as a result of the severe weather system that wreaked havoc as it swept across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky Missouri and Ohio.
“The whole neighborhood’s gone. The wall of my fireplace is all that is left of my house,” Michael Perdun told The Associated Press by cellphone from the Illinois town of Washington.
He added that the district was wiped out in a matter of seconds.
“I stepped outside and I heard it coming,” Perdun told the AP. “My daughter was already in the basement, so I ran downstairs and grabbed her, crouched in the laundry room and all of a sudden I could see daylight up the stairway and my house was gone.”
Area hospitals were also trying to set up a temporary emergency medical care facility in Washington, a small town around 145 miles southwest of Chicago.
“The devastation is just unbelievable,” said Mayor Gary Manier told Reuters about the town of 15,000, where hundreds of homes were destroyed and one person died. “I can’t imagine people walked away from these places.”
At least 50 patients in the emergency room at St. Francis Medical Center nearby were reported to be tornado-related, eight of them were trauma cases, according to Amy Paul, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
An 80-year-old man and his 78-year-old sister were killed near New Minden, according to Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger, and unidentified victims were confirmed dead in Washington city and in Unionville.
Two people were also confirmed to have died in Brookport, Ill., in Massac County near the Kentucky line and police with dogs were going door to door to search for trapped residents. With roads entering the city closed by debris and downed power lines, Brookport authorities imposed a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew.
At least 10 tornadoes touched down in Illinois, NBCChicago.com reported. Some 16 were reported to have torn through Indiana, eight through Kentucky and one a piece in Missouri and Ohio