The death toll from the string of tornadoes to cross a wide area of the United States and Canada on Wednesday night (3 April) has passed the 300-mark.
The death toll from the string of tornadoes to cross a wide area of the United States and Canada on Wednesday night (3 April) has passed the 300-mark. In one mid-western town, Xenia, 60 miles (95 kilometres) southwest of Columbus, Ohio, at least 35 people died. A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed to stop looting after the tornadoes had devastated a big housing estate and the town's business district as well as cutting off power and water supplies.
The tornadoes, the most damaging in terms of area covered, hit 10 states. leaving several thousand people injured and many thousands more homeless. Damage is so far estimated at more than 100 million dollars (more than 40 million pounds sterling). One town, Martinsburgh in Indiana, is according to the police officials, no longer on the map.
In all, 90 violent tornadoes hit the area, from the Canadian province of Alberta in the north to Alabama in the south. Meteorologists warn that further windstorms are likely. Wednesday night's tornadoes travelled at speeds between 200 and 300 miles an hour (320-480 k.p.h.) - almost twice the sped of most tornadoes.
In addition to the winds, an earth tremor was felt in the central and southern United States. According to immediate reports, the tremor with its centre 125 miles (200 kms) south of Chicago caused little damage and no loss of life.