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Midwest tornadoes: At least three killed in Ohio and dozens of injuries reported in Indiana

Midwest tornadoes: At least three killed in Ohio and dozens of injuries reported in Indiana

At least three people are dead in Ohio after more than half a dozen tornadoes tore through Midwest states overnight Thursday into Friday.

Logan County Sheriff Randall Dodds told a local reporter early Friday that authorities have identified at least three deaths after a reported tornado hit the area. Mr Dodds said police have identified several survivors with superficial injuries, such as broken bones. Authorities have yet to release the identities of the three people killed.

Police said that a possible tornado also ripped through the rural Indiana community of Winchester, leaving homes damaged and some buildings flattened.

“There have been many significant injuries, but I don’t know the number. I don’t know where they are. I don’t know what those injuries are,” Indiana state police superintendent Douglas Carter told reporters on Thursday night. “There’s a lot that we don’t know yet.”

While initial reports indicated three people may have been killed at a trailer home park in Winchester, Mr Carter said that he was not yet aware of any deaths in the area. “There’s a lot we don’t know yet,” he said.

At least 38 people have been injured in Indiana, with another 20 injured in Ohio, CNN reports.

A damaged home in Lakeview, Ohio. At least three people are dead in Ohio after tornadoes tore through Midwest states overnight (AP)
A damaged home in Lakeview, Ohio. At least three people are dead in Ohio after tornadoes tore through Midwest states overnight (AP)

The tornado, which is believed to be part of a storm system that spanned a vast area and included parts of Kentucky, hit Winchester at about 8pm local time on Thursday (midnight GMT). The twister tore through a Walmart store and a Taco Bell in Winchester while damaging several homes.

Emergency management officials said that up to half the buildings in Selma, a community of about 750 people west of Winchester, may have been damaged. Temporary shelters have been set up for residents. As of Friday afternoon, the Wilmington, Ohio National Weather Service is conducting a damage survey.

“The sky was completely black,” Lisa Gulley, who lives in Selma, told NBC affiliate WTHR.

“I saw the clouds were kind of spinning and I saw it form, basically over my neighbour’s house, just two doors down — and then it just dropped,” she continued. “We barely had time to get in the house.”

Winchester mayor Bob McCoy and his wife, who were hunkered down in a closet during the storm, said that he was “shaken”.

A home damaged by severe weather in Milton, Kentucky (AP)
A home damaged by severe weather in Milton, Kentucky (AP)

“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “I heard what sounded like a train and then I started hearing sirens. I’ve never heard that sound before; I don’t want to hear it again.”

Authorities were trying to confirm any deaths but superintendent Carter said there were “no known fatalities” at this time.

Ascension St Vincent Hospital in Winchester said that it received 39 patients last night during the storms.

Indiana Task Force One was called to help with search efforts in Winchester. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the severe weather,” the team posted on X/Twitter.

Around the same time as a possible tornado hit Winchester, another suspected twister touched down about 75 miles (120km) to the east in Ohio.

The tornado landed near the southern end of Indian Lake, impacting the villages of Lakeview and Russells Point, said Sheri Timmers, a spokesperson for Logan County.

Nearly 20,000 homes in Ohio and Indiana are without power as of Friday morning, according to poweroutage.us.

In this image taken from video provided by WSYX, damage from a severe weather system is seen in Lakeview, Ohio (AP)
In this image taken from video provided by WSYX, damage from a severe weather system is seen in Lakeview, Ohio (AP)

“As far as we know, we have lots of injuries. We don’t know the extent of the injuries,” Ms Timmers said. “An RV park was impacted.”

Major tornadoes were also believed to have hit parts of western Ohio’s Auglaize and Logan counties, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said, with debris lifted up to 15,000 feet.

Bellefontaine mayor David Crissman said that a building had collapsed in Logan County. “There’s people trapped,” he said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Ben Flint said the storm destroyed three or four single-family homes, and four or five other structures and demolished several uninhabited camper vans along the river.

A tornado may have also struck part of Mercer County in west-central Ohio, according to the National Weather Service. The impacted area is mostly farmland but at least one home and one hog barn were damaged, Mike Robbins, the county emergency management director, told CNN.

Additional reporting by agencies