A powerful storm system swept across central Illinois and parts of Missouri and Kentucky, damaging homes, tearing down tree limbs and pelting the region with hail. Tornadoes were reported in more than a dozen counties.
One twister tore through South Pekin, Ill., 10 miles south of Peoria, destroying about 50 homes and causing extensive damage late Saturday, said Scott Gauvin, a spokesman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Twenty-seven people in the area were treated at hospitals, three with serious injuries.
In Missouri, as many as 40 buildings were damaged in Canton, Mo., including a fraternity house at Culver-Stockton College, after a tornado touched down there Saturday evening. A dome on atop a campus building was also damaged, and a mobile home park in the town of 2,500 was hit.
"It's total devastation to that (mobile home) park. It's flattened," said Scotland County Sheriff's dispatcher Dave Boden.
Storms with wind speeds up to 150 mph hit parts of Central Kentucky early Sunday, as well, damaging homes in Hardin, Hart and Mercer counties.
In northeastern Kentucky, at least 17 people were treated at hospitals and more than two dozen homes were damaged Saturday night after a tornado hit in Lewis and Mason counties near Maysville.
Other tornadoes were reported Saturday night in Illinois' Adams, Hancock, McDonough, Bureau, Henry, Brown, Mason, Fulton and Schuyler counties, damaging several homes and other buildings, National Weather Service and local emergency services officials said.
At least 25 homes in Lima, a rural community about 20 miles north of Quincy, were damaged when one tornado touched down, Gauvin said.
"It looks like a bomb had gone off," said Lima resident Mark Kroner. The post office and old Christian Church in the community of 120 people were destroyed, and the top of the water tower was gone.
Several funnel clouds were also spotted in Sagamon County, where the state capital is located, and there was some minor flooding on roadways from heavy rain, said Bill Russell of the county's emergency services agency.
"We had a couple of vehicles that went into water and had to be pulled out," Russell said.
The storms stem from a volatile weather system that "has been hung up over the area the past two or three days," said Chris Geelhart, a weather service spokesman.
More than 300 tornadoes have been reported across the Midwest since the start of May, and at least 44 people have died in the storms. The worst of the storms appeared to have moved out of the region Sunday morning.
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