A tornado has killed at least seven people and destroyed dozens of homes in north-west Ohio in the US.
The storms have created a “war zone” of destruction, destroying an emergency services building, collapsing a cinema roof and ripping the side off a building at a Michigan nuclear plant. An area south east of Toledo has been worst hit by the tornado and is now littered with wrecked vehicles, family possessions and splintered wood.
The gymnasium of Lake High School had its back wall and roof ripped from it just hours before it was due to host a graduation ceremony, whole two buses were knocked onto their sides and another was thrown 45.7m before landing on its roof near a football field.
Lake Township police chief Mark Hummer flew over the damaged area and said at least 50 homes were destroyed and another 50 severely damaged, as well as six commercial buildings. The storm fell over an area of farm fields and light industry, narrowly missing the heavily populated suburbs on the southern edge of Toledo.
“It’s a war zone,” said Hummer “It’s pretty disheartening.”
Rescue officials are still searching homes and could not say whether anyone else was missing, fire chief Todd Walters said.
Those killed included a person outside the police department and a motorist, Hummer said. He said a young child and two other victims were from nearby Millbury, a bedroom community of roughly 1,200 about 16km south east of Toledo. He said two other people died at hospitals but he did not have details.
More than 30 people in the Toledo area were taken to hospital. Two adults and two children were in critical condition, said Mercy Hospital system spokeswoman Gloria Enk.
In south-eastern Michigan, severe storms and high winds ripped siding off a building at the Fermi 2 nuclear plant, causing it to shut down automatically, said Dan Smith, the public information officer for Monroe County. Investigators were inspecting the nuclear plant on the shore of Lake Erie and the plant is expected to go back into operation, Mr Smith said.
Tornadoes also were reported in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.