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Tornado kills 7 in Ohio; Storm moves East

June 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
At least seven people were killed in northwest Ohio as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through the Midwest overnight.At least 30 people in the Toledo area were hospitalized, including two adults and two children in critical condition, from the storms that caused severe damage to homes, the police station and a high school. Dozens of minor injuries from the storms have also been reported in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.

Those killed included a person outside the police department and a motorist, according to Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer. He said a young child and two other victims were from nearby Millbury, a bedroom community of roughly 1,200 about 10 miles southeast of Toledo. Hummer said two other people died at hospitals but he did not have details.

The tornado ripped the roof and back wall off Lake High School's gymnasium about 11 p.m. Saturday, several hours before the graduation ceremony was supposed to begin there. The school board president said one of the victims was the father of the class valedictorian. The school has rescheduled graduation for Tuesday evening at a Toledo community college.

Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer flew over the damaged area and said at least 50 homes were destroyed and another 50 severely damaged, as well as six commercial buildings. The storm fell over an area of farm fields and light industry, narrowly missing the heavily populated suburbs on the southern edge of Toledo.

"It's a war zone," Hummer said. "It's pretty disheartening."

Hummer said Sunday afternoon all buildings had been searched and everyone was accounted for. Rescuers were searching a wooded area and a field near the worst hit portion of town as a precaution.

In southeastern Michigan, severe storms and high winds ripped siding off a building at the Fermi 2 nuclear plant, causing it to shut down automatically, said Dan Smith, the public information officer for Monroe County. Investigators were inspecting the nuclear plant on the shore of Lake Erie on Sunday morning, and the plant was expected to go back into operation, Smith said.

About 35,000 people were without power but it wasn't clear whether that was directly related to the nuclear plant's shutdown or because of damage to power lines in the area, Smith said.

Eleven people with minor injuries were taken to hospitals from Dundee, Mich., where the weather service was looking into reports of a tornado touching down.

Tornadoes also were reported in Illinois. More than a dozen people were injured in Dwight, Ill., where about 40 mobile homes and 10 other homes were destroyed, Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson said.

The storms left a trail of damaged homes in northern Indiana and a tornado sighting was reported, but no one was injured. In eastern Iowa, buildings were damaged and one person was hurt when a tornado touched down in Maquoketa.

A cold front colliding with warm unstable air produced the storms that struck Saturday night, meteorologist Marty Mullen of the National Weather Service said, and that front was draped from New England south through the mid-Atlantic region later Sunday. The storm was weakening as it headed east.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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