The Midwest is recovering today from a wall of tornadoes that blew through at least five states, causing extensive damage and killing at least one person in Missouri and three unconfirmed deaths in Illinois. The entertainment town of Branson, Mo., was hit hard by the storms.
15 confirmed tornadoes touched down across Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana overnight, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said.
A confirmed tornado blew through a mobile home park outside of Buffalo, Mo., killing one person and injured 13 others, according to officials with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.
Unconfirmed reports say another three people may have been killed by storms in Harrisburg, Ill., a town about 50 miles southwest of Evansville, Ind., after a tornado hit there around 5:00 this morning.
The final casualty count in the tourist destination of Branson still remains to be seen as sheriff officers there move from house to house to search for victims.
At least a dozen injuries have already been confirmed, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Griffin told the Associated Press. Griffin also confirmed the overnight storms caused heavy damage to the city’s famous theaters.
In Kansas, the small town of Harveyville, just south of Topeka, was hit especially hard by a tornado that touched down just after 9 p.m.
“The town was taken out by about 40 percent of the buildings in the community,” Sharon Watson, director of public affairs for the Kansas Adjutant General’s Office told ABC News. “A significant amount of it has been destroyed a lot of homes damaged, a lot of buildings down including a church and an apartment complex.”
Officials also say that one person who was trapped in a building had to be extricated from underneath debris and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
“Just like a shotgun went off,” is how one man in Harveyville described the storm to ABC News.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency after the storm, which also closed highways and struck down power lines throughout the area.
The National Weather Service also reported lesser force tornadoes occurred elsewhere in the state, touching down southwest of the town of Hutchinson.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.