Harrisburg, Illinois, Devastated by Tornadoes

Twisters leave deadly trail across Midwest towns.
4:24 | 02/29/12

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Transcript for Harrisburg, Illinois, Devastated by Tornadoes
-- fury of tornadoes at least sixteen of them one after the other terror and through midwestern towns today. Imagine you're looking out your window and you see this a giant funnel cloud in the middle of Nebraska. At the highway in Branson -- over that country music Mecca here it is before and then look after. And a mall in Harrisburg Illinois and here after the tornado hit. When it was all over at least nine people were killed more than a 150 injured across this country and ABC's Chris -- -- been touring the devastation. In Harrisburg -- Good evening -- and you can see how powerful this tornado was this home among hundreds destroyed in this town of only 9000 people. The mayor told us he heard the sirens go off and then he knew in his gut that something awful was going to happen. The twisters tore through the night leaving behind a terrible hole in five states. At least one deadly tornado slammed into Harrisburg just before 5 AM. Shredding homes and a tooth picks. Flattening the strip mall like a pancake lifting entire buildings off their foundations. This car had been parked in its garage it's unbelievable I can't believe the measure damage it did in this building where this afternoon mayor Eric Gregg showed us the terrible and random -- of destruction. Give us a sense of how powerful this was. This storm was absolutely a monster this was -- horrific event second. Second -- that we've ever had. Hurricane force winds 175. Miles an hour carving a two mile path two football fields wide. Leaving six dead where these homes used to be. It didn't hit it instantly. When people did have a chance to take cover but unfortunately when it made hits but at the time it is just 4 minutes until 5 o'clock before sleep they don't have their radios on. Tonight the Baptist Church preparing to house the homeless the storms moved from Nebraska across Kansas and Missouri into Illinois and Kentucky. Tornadoes touching down in Branson Missouri that country music Mecca. Destroying this hotels and theaters. Now this rash of tornadoes all caused by a powerful collision of opposing forces a big cold front smacking -- the warm humid air. We think -- severe weather occurring in the spring time but severe weather does and will occur any tight anyplace. Anywhere. As long as the ingredients are available in Harrisburg the mayor already determined to rebuild. It's not something that's gonna put -- now we're gonna get back up where we keep moving forward Chris. I mean this is gonna make us stronger and better. The mayor told us he is how heartbroken by what happened the damage that took only moments to inflict. May take many many months to rebuild. Well Chris as you said the damage and destruction stretch all the way from -- in Harrisburg. Across to Harvey Ville Kansas and then population 200 in that town gathered and every single one of them felt. This destruction from tornadoes ABC's -- -- to help tells us the story that feels straight out of the wizard of -- Debbie Roberts and her husband were home with their eight year old grandson Michael when the twister hit that you were here. -- Cannot be knocked back here and I grabbed hold of it. All of the sudden the windows blew out the tornado started to suck her grandson outside and he got it here. He went airborne and came all the waiting came all the way over here. -- -- -- -- -- -- great stuff to read. Michaels grandfather barely saved him the family dog went flying out the window but survived than in this -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- story Clayton how is Michael the night. Michael we are told is finding is with his parents and his grandmother says he had no idea of the kind of danger he was it just -- close call he had. His grandparents' house like nearly half the homes here in Harvey -- Is completely destroyed. -- the people here are very thankful beyond thankful that even though about a dozen people were injured no one was killed.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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