At least five people have been killed as powerful tornadoes sweep through the US Midwest, tearing through communities and destroying homes.
An elderly man and his sister were killed when a tornado hit their farmhouse in the town of New Minden, in rural southern Illnois.
And a third person was killed when a tornado struck the city of Washington in Illnois, and authorities confirmed two other deaths.
Tornadoes and damaging winds have already hit and caused extensive damage in a number of communities in Illnois, Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri, but authorities say as many as 10 states could be affected.
Homes have been flattened, cars overturned, trees uprooted and dozens of people injured.
One hospital in Peoria, Illinois, reported 24 patients in the emergency room. Eight of those patients were trauma victims, some with head injuries and broken bones.
Forecasters warned of a “very dangerous” and fast-moving weather system across the US Midwest threatening 53 million people.
“We obviously have a very dangerous situation on our hands and it’s just getting started,” said Laura Furgione, deputy director of the National Weather Service.
They said there was a possibility of intense tornadoes, large hail up to two inches in diameter, and damaging winds reaching speeds of more than 80mph… see more