More than 20 unconfirmed tornadoes were reported overnight and into early Wednesday morning in Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.
A tornado caused significant damage in Perryville, Missouri, Tuesday night, crossing an interstate north of the city and scattering cars from a nearby salvage yard across the freeway.
Travis Koenig, 24, was killed when his car was blown off the road and he was ejected from the vehicle, said Missouri State Highway Patrol Corp. Juston Wheetley. A passenger in the car survived. Several other people driving on the interstate sustained minor injuries.
Wheetley said they’ve dealt with tornadoes before, but “this one was a little bit more severe than we’ve seen in this area.”
A strike team searched 180 houses in the path of the tornado, and determined that 60 percent of them had moderate to major damage.
Tornadoes also struck several locations in Illinois. In Ottawa, 76-year-old Wayne Tuntland died of “crushing injuries” after a tree fell on him, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
Six people were injured at a local nursing home damaged by a tornado. All the residents and staff members were safely evacuated, according to the facility.
Hail the size of baseballs was also spotted in the area.
Near Crossville, a village in southern Illinois, 71-year-old Thomas McCord was found dead in a field behind his home, and his wife was treated for injuries, according to ABC 7.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said he was traveling to the affected areas Wednesday “thanking our first responders and helping our families recover from the storm damage.”
“My heart goes out to all of those impacted by the tornados in Illinois,” he wrote on Facebook. “Our thoughts are with all the victims, first responders and volunteers as recovery continues.”
Several people were injured in Arkansas when a tornado blew through an area north of Little Rock, and a number of houses were damaged.
Severe storms caused widespread power outages in Tennessee and downed trees and power lines.
The National Weather Service predicted severe thunderstorms for Wednesday in parts of the Southeast and on the East Coast. “The risk for tornadoes will exist particularly from parts of east-central Mississippi to portions of north Georgia and vicinity,” their alert states.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump is monitoring the storms and has the victims’ families in his prayers.