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Deadly Wind, Rain Hit Midwest

From Times Wire Services

Rescue workers pulled two bodies from the wreckage of a nursing home Friday after a tornado cut a five-mile swath through the Iowa countryside.

Strong winds and heavy rain hit much of the Midwest on Thursday and Friday, downing trees and causing injuries. Crews cleaned up the wreckage from at least 21 tornadoes that churned across portions of Montana, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri. Dozens of homes were damaged in the seven-state region.

Winds reaching 50 m.p.h. Friday in northern Illinois kicked up blinding curtains of dirt that caused multivehicle crashes and sent debris flying in a brown haze throughout the Chicago Loop.

Elderly Woman Killed

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In Lansing, Mich., gusts of up to 30 m.p.h. apparently blew a covered wooden walkway into the street Friday, killing an elderly woman inside, police said.

Winds gusted to more than 50 m.p.h. Friday in southeastern Wisconsin, where two men were injured at the State Fair Park when a plank blew off the top of some bleachers and hit them, police said.

In Illinois, strong winds knocked out electricity to about 1,500 homes. Near the Wisconsin border, Interstate 90 and Illinois 2 were closed after several traffic pileups during the blinding dirt storm.

Traffic Accidents

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At least seven persons were injured in a nine-vehicle pileup on Illinois 2, and five were hurt in a crash on the Northwest Tollway outside Chicago.

In Elkader, Iowa, the Clayton County Care Facility “apparently sustained a direct hit” by a tornado late Thursday, trapping several of the 57 elderly residents, Bev Costello of the State Office of Disaster Services said.

The tornado destroyed 12 homes and three house trailers and damaged other homes and farms, Red Cross worker Mary Kay Schwind said. Two of the nursing home residents were killed, and a third was in serious condition, Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Rick Henderson said.


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