PARIS, Tenn. – Severe thunderstorms rolled across the nation’s midsection late Tuesday, producing funnel clouds that tore off roofs and destroyed or damaged buildings in at least four states.
Tornado touchdowns were spotted in 12 counties in western and central Tennessee, with some of the worst damage occurring in Henry County, about 90 miles west of Nashville.
“Numerous homes there were damaged, some completely destroyed,” said Faye Scott, spokeswoman for the Henry County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s major destruction.”
Funnel clouds were also sighted in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, where one storm-related death was reported. The National Weather Service could not immediately confirm the tornados.
A tornado made a direct hit on Henry County’s emergency management center, forcing authorities to relocate to another building to handle the disaster, County Mayor Brent Greer said.
The county medical center treated 13 people with injuries, mostly cuts and bruises, hospital spokeswoman Sandra Sims said.
Deputies in Montgomery County, northwest of Nashville, recovered a young girl in a trailer that had tumbled down a hill. She was uninjured.
“It looks like a war zone,” said Ted Denny, spokesman for the county Sheriff’s Department.
In western Kentucky, storms leveled homes and toppled power lines. At least 22 people were treated for storm-related injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to head trauma, said Jayne Barton, of the Regional Medical Center in Madisonville.
In southern Illinois, high winds peeled the roofs off a church and several barns.