March 1, 2012 / 7:46 PM / 6 years ago

Midwest cleans up from tornadoes, more storms forecast

HARRISBURG, Ill., March 1 (Reuters) - Residents of storm-tossed midwestern towns searched for photographs and mementos from their ruined homes on Thursday as the death toll from a line of tornado-producing storms rose to 13, while more storms bore down on the region.

Adding to the toll, a 53-year-old man who was trapped in his collapsed home in Harveyville, Kansas, was removed from life support at a hospital and died, state officials said on Thursday.

Another nine people in Kansas suffered storm-related injuries that required hospital care, state emergency management spokeswoman Sharon Watson said.

The worst loss of life from the line of “super-cell” storms, which marched across the Midwest and produced 35 tornado reports from late Tuesday through Wednesday, was in Harrisburg, where six people died.

A powerful tornado tore a path across the city’s southern edge, where a residential neighborhood and a shopping district were flattened and virtually unrecognizable.

Power company crews were out on Thursday restoring electricity, and several residents sifted through rubble for something to salvage. Occasionally, a chain-saw roared to life, breaking the quiet.

Another 100 people were injured in Harrisburg, authorities said.

The storms were also blamed for three deaths in Missouri, and three others in Tennessee as the violent weather moved eastward, officials said.

One of three Tennessee victims, who were all women, had not been recovered yet from her home that was teetering precariously on a hillside, Jeremy Heidt of the state’s emergency management agency said.

Friday could bring more rough weather, forecasters said.

“Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be another bad day for severe weather. All the parameters are coming together -- humidity, wind shear, a very strong jet stream,” said meteorologist Henry Margusity.

He predicted multiple lines of thunderstorms crossing Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee -- with several densely populated areas in the storms’ likely path Friday evening.

Kentucky emergency management spokesman Buddy Rogers said officials will meet with National Weather Service forecasters to “get a feel for what could happen tomorrow.”

This week’s deadly storm outbreak raised concerns that this year could see a repeat of 2011 when 550 people were killed by twisters, the most in nearly a century. (Reporting By Jim Young, Bruce Olson, Tim Ghianni; Writing by Andrew Stern; Editing by Paul Thomasch)

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