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Tornadoes sweep across Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana

A dozen tornadoes have been spotted across the South and Midwest. Tornado warnings are up until 10 p.m. Friday night

By Jay ReevesAssociated Press / March 2, 2012

Ronnie Trussell, left, talks with a neighbor as they observe damage by high winds, possibly a tornado, in Athens, Ala., on Friday, March 2, 2012.

(AP Photo/The News Courier, Kelly Kazek)


Athens, Ga.

At least a dozen tornadoes have been reported cutting through the nation's midsection. Apparent tornadoes destroyed houses, sent people to hospitals and tore up the roof of a maximum security prison in northern Alabama as bad weather threatened more twisters across the region Friday, two days after storms killed 13 people in the Midwest and South.

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There are reports that Clark County Indiana was hit by a large tornado, and that the high school in Henryville, Ind., was struck. The school was closed. There are no reports yet on the scale of damage or injuries in Clark County.

The National Weather Service has issued severe weather and tornado warnings from Georgia to southern Ohio across a wide swath where forecasters said strong storms are sweeping across the nation's mid-section. Thousands of schoolchildren in several states were sent home as a precaution. Meanwhile, residents in parts of Illinois hit hard by the twisters earlier in the week were salvaging what they could from splintered homes.

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Tornado warnings are currently up for counties in northeast Georgia, South Carolina, and parts of Indiana and Ohio.

The weather service says that a tornado watch will remain in effect until 10 pm CST Friday for southwest North Carolina, central Tennessee, and southwest Virginia.

Storm damage was reported Friday in several states including Alabama, Indiana, and Tennessee.

In the Huntsville area, five people were taken to hospitals, and several houses were leveled by what authorities believed were tornadoes Friday morning. The extent of the people's injuries wasn't immediately known, and emergency crews were continuing to survey damage. No deaths were reported.

At least 10 homes were damaged in a subdivision in Athens. Homeowner Bill Adams watched as two men ripped shingles off the roof of a house he rents out, and he fretted about predictions that more storms would pass through.

"Hopefully they can at least get a tarp on it before it starts again," he said.

Not far away, the damage was much worse for retired high school band director Stanley Nelson. Winds peeled off his garage door and about a third of his roof, making rafters and boxes in his attic visible from the street.

"It's like it just exploded," he said.

An apparent tornado also damaged a state maximum security prison about 10 miles from Huntsville, but none of the facility's approximately 2,100 inmates escaped. Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett said there were no reports of injuries, but the roof was damaged on two large prison dormitories that each hold about 250 men. Part of the perimeter fence was knocked down, but the prison was secure.

"It was reported you could see the sky through the roof of one of them," Corbett said.

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