Teams of first responders on Wednesday combed through damaged and destroyed homes and businesses in southeastern Missouri in search of victims after a reported tornado struck the rural area before dawn.
Missouri State Police said injuries and fatalities have been reported in Bollinger County, where multiple local agencies were conducting search and recovery efforts, the agency said in a Twitter post. It did not specify the number of casualties that had been reported.
“There is damage and some injuries. We are still in the rescue phase,” Bollinger County Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Cooper told Reuters.
Photographs on social media from Glen Allen, Missouri – a village about 110 miles (177 km) south of St. Louis – showed severely damaged houses with roofs sheared off, downed trees and powerlines and debris covering roadways and yards.
Storm spotters reported the tornado touched down in the area at about 3:30 a.m. local time (0800 GMT), according to the National Weather Service. It was one of more than a dozen that were spotted in the Midwest overnight, the service said.
The twister was spawned from a storm front sweeping across the Midwest and South on Wednesday. Some 24 million Americans were under the threat of possible tornadoes and severe thunderstorms throughout the day.
The storm comes days after violent tornadoes tore through parts of the South and Midwest, and as far east as Delaware, killing at least 32 people and leaving damaged and destroyed homes and businesses in their wake.
A week before, a tornado devastated the Mississippi Delta town of Rolling Fork, destroying many of the community’s 400 homes and killing 26 people.