(Photo: REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)
At least 15 tornadoes have been reported in the Midwest, leaving four dead and many more injured.
Rescue crews are beginning the arduous task of looking for survivors under the rubble and helping those who may be trapped. The string of storms hit hard last night and tore through Kansas, Missouri, and parts of Illinois. According to The Weather Channel, Harveyville, Kan., was hit the hardest; up to 40 percent of the town has been damaged.
As the storms moved across the state and into Missouri, they continued to gain power. Branson, a noted tourist attraction and home to the Variety Theater, was hit particularly hard. Local reporter Monte Schisler told The Weather Channel, "The world-famous Highway 76 strip was almost like a war zone."
"I came out of my neighborhood to go to work and within minutes we could not get back into our neighborhood due to downed trees and power lines. A neighbor's home had the roof ripped off," he added.
So far, one death reportedly occurred in southwest Missouri, and ABC News has reported that there are at least three dead in Harrisburg, Ill., which was hit hard by the storms.
The Associated Press reports that 32 people were treated at a medical center in Branson; power has been completely knocked out in the town. Kansas has declared a state of emergency in the wake of the storms. Other states affected by the tornadoes include Arkansas and Oklahoma, which saw wind gusts up to 128 km per hour.