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Tornados Devastate Midwest States Of Ohio, Kentucky And Indiana, 27 Dead (VIDEO, PICTURES)

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An employee of Henryville High School examines the remains of the building following severe storms
An employee of Henryville High School examines the remains of the building following severe storms

The death toll continues to rise in the wake of powerful thunderstorms and tornadoes that ripped across the American Midwest.

At least 35 people have died across the Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, while rescuers continue searching through the rubble.

The scenes of devastation stretch from the US Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.

According to local police, 17 people died in Kentucky, two in Ohio and 14 in Indiana.

More may still be missing as more than 90 twisters ripped through seven states. One dispatcher described the storms were so violent it was "as if the gates of hell had opened up", the New York Times reports.

Entire neighbourhoods have been levelled, and many more have been left without power. Houses were flattened, a school had its roof torn off and a prison fence was blown over. In some rural areas, whole communities are said to have disappeared.

The town of Marysville, Indiana was flattened and nearby Henryville also suffered extreme damage. Each is home to about 2,000 people.

"Marysville is completely gone," said Major Chuck Adams of Clark County Sheriff's Department.

Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden said that although Indiana had expected severe weather, this was "the worst-case scenario. There's no way you can prepare for something like this" reports the BBC

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said on Friday: "We are no match for Mother Nature at her worst." He told CNN on Saturday that rescuers are now facing a "race against the nightfall" to search for anyone trapped by the destroyed buildings.

Strong winds sucked a boy from his mother's arms in Chelsea, southern Indiana, after the woman struggled to seek refuge from the storm in their basement. The four-year-old died, and the bodies of his grandparents were found in a field outside, the BBC reports. The mother managed to survive.

In Kentucky, a toddler was recovering in hospital after being found alone, shivering in a field in Salem, Indiana.

Meanwhile amateur footage sprung up on YouTube, tornadoes seen in towering columns across the flat landscape of the Midwest.

The videos have had thousands of views over the last 24 hours, as people from all over the world logged on to witness the terrifyingly powerful storms ripping across America.

Meanwhile others filmed the wreckage left behind, capturing the devastation caused by the storm in just a few minutes. Check out the difference between one house, which is completely flattened, while in a neighbouring building, the jars remain intact on the shelf.

The Forecasters at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said that more than 10 million people were at risk from the weather.

Reported by the Associated Press, Clark County, Sheriff Danny Rodden said: "We knew this was coming. We were watching the weather like everyone else. This was the worst case scenario. There's no way you can prepare for something like this."

Speaking to the BBC, Jenn Helvering from Henryville said: "The weather was terrible. I suddenly saw a tornado coming towards me, I could see it swirling, then I saw one behind me. I was stuck in between two tornadoes - my dad directed me while I was driving between the two tornadoes. It was truly terrifying."

The storm system also reached as far south as Tennessee and Alabama.

Meanwhile, more storms are expected across the Florida Panhandle, southern Georgia and the Carolinas, the New York Times reports.

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March Tornadoes 2012
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