Dangerous weather is not confined to the ocean Thursday. As people on Bermuda and along the Eastern seaboard prepared for the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, Midwesterners surveyed the damage from more than a dozen tornadoes and powerful thunderstorms that swirled in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa on Wednesday, downing trees and destroying houses.
The home of 13-year-old Ryan Degner of Williamsville, Ill., was among them. Degner was home alone last night in his basement when a tornado struck, the howling storm drowning out the music he was listening to on his mp3 player.
"I was praying, over and over and over again," he said Thursday on "Good Morning America." "I just had my eyes closed."
Degner emerged from the basement to find his home and his neighborhood in shambles.
"The whole side of our house was missing and part of the roof," he said. "I got really, really scared and started shaking."
The teenager fortunately stayed safe, later updating his MySpace status to share the scary news with his friends. His father later found his missing cat, Matrix.
In Chesterton, Ind., a storm caused major property damage. Another of several twisters also touched down just north of Minneapolis, with 100-mile-per-hour winds peeling the roof off an apartment building and heavy rains flooding parts of the city.
ABC News' Jeffrey Kofman, Jan Simmonds, Katie Escherich, Barbara Pinto, Sharyn Alfonsi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.