Powerful Storms Batter the Midwest

August 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Communities across four states are looking over the damage this morning after powerful storms raced through, Wednesday night. At least 18 suspected tornadoes left behind a huge clean-up job. In Minnesota, the storms arrived with little warning, and left behind remarkable damage.

"I could see the clouds spinning and there were cars ahead of me pulled over, so I could tell something was hitting."

"I just seen everything flying up in the air. Everything. And it was like dark."

Storm-watchers spotted at least three funnel clouds around Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon. The sudden strong winds picked a woman up off the street and toppled trees in an instant.

"It was like a domino effect. They just kept falling. And then a huge piece of somebody's roof just hit the car and it was like *psssh*"

Skies looked similar across the neighboring states: Iowa's Fayette County Sheriff's office spotted this tornado that did minor damage. In nearby Stanley, Iowa, a tornado blew through Jim Fry's farm. He took cover with seconds to spare. "I headed to the basement and heard the roof come off the house. Come back out here and it's a mess," said Fry.

Storms in Central Illinois sent at least six people to the hospital with injuries and left thousands more without power. An Indiana apartment building could not withstand the winds.

"You know, I watched the roof, through my front window, watched the roof go across the street into the other house. It was pretty wild."

The Midwest expects more severe weather today, while the East Coast focuses on Hurricane Bill. The Category 4 hurricane is now in the Atlantic and could cause large swells and beach rip currents by the weekend. "Being in the summertime season and people wanting to go out and enjoy the beach weather, the waters are going to start getting dangerous," said Bill Read with the National Hurricane Center.

Bill could pick up steam as it moves north, but forecasters still don't know how close the hurricane will get to land.

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