Tornadoes kill three across US Midwest

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Debris marks where homes stood in Perryville, Missouri

Tornadoes driven by warm, spring-like conditions have killed at least three people and caused extensive damage across the US Midwestern states.

A cold front is predicted to now shift the storm threat to the US East Coast.

On Wednesday forecasters said that 95 million people are in the path of the storm as it moves eastward producing strong storms, known as supercells.

On Tuesday night, nearly 45 million Americans were hit by severe weather in states from Arkansas to Ohio.

One person was killed in the city of Ottawa, Illinois, where more than 100 homes were destroyed.

Another person was confirmed killed by a tornado in Perry County, Missouri.

Media caption,
Tornadoes in Ottawa, Illionois, were caught on camera sweeping across the horizon

Authorities say the man died when the car he was driving was blown off the road. His passenger was not harmed.

In Crossville, Illinois, a 71-year-old man was killed and his wife was injured by a suspected twister.

The National Weather Service received unconfirmed reports of 22 tornadoes across five states, with many occurring after dark on Tuesday night.

In Ottawa, a man was injured and another 76-year-old man killed when a tree branch fell on them while they were outside "performing some work task", according to Captain Dave Gualandri of the city police department.

The nearby LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa was also struck, causing some residents there to suffer minor injuries.

About 50 homes were damaged in the nearby village of Naplate, according to Fire Chief Jon Nevins.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Hail the size of baseballs fell in Ottawa, Illinois

More than 100,000 people awoke without power on Wednesday, as emergency crews struggled to repair downed power lines under the threat of more storms.

Near the small town of Perryville, Missouri, about 10 homes were heavily damaged by the high winds, which also tossed cars and trucks off Interstate 55.

A 24-year-old man was thrown from one of the vehicles and died, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Juston Wheetley.

The highway has been closed due to storm damage.

Hail fell in Missouri and Wisconsin, producing 3in (7.5cm) pieces in some places.

In White County, Arkansas, 10-15 people were injured, according to the state department of emergency management.

Forecaster Ariel Cohen with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says the weather system was being driven by sunshine warming the air in the region, and roiling the atmosphere.

President Donald Trump is monitoring the severe weather and is in touch with state and local officials, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer.