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Somber searches resume as tornado outbreak leaves heartland reeling

An 'enormous outbreak' of at least 91 tornadoes tore into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys Friday, the second major tornado system to rake across the heartland in the span of three days.

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This week, however, America saw two massive tornado-spewing systems move through the same part of the country in the span of three days. On Wednesday, a system that spawned more than 20 tornadoes killed 13 people in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee, leveling parts of Harrisburg, Branson, Mo., and Harveyville, Kan.

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On Friday, Doppler radar maps again were showing huge swaths of red, indicating intense atmospheric turbulence as spring-time warmth clashed with late-winter cold fronts, as sirens blared and Americans raced for cellars and other shelter.

Madison County, Ala., which took a direct hit last April, watched as another tornado took a similar trek through the county on Friday, injuring at least seven people.

As that system continued into eastern Tennessee, at least two tornadoes were spotted, one near Lookout Mountain on the Georgia border, injuring 29 people. The storm forced the Tennessee Valley Authority to power down the Sequoyah nuclear power plant to 70 percent power.

A tornado also left at least a possible eight-mile path of destruction in northeast Tennessee, stretching into Virginia, but damage assessments were not expected until after daybreak on Saturday.

Multiple tornadoes descended on Indiana, where the small town of Marysville was flattened, the tornado sparing only the town's water tower. In Henryville, students who were about to be sent home were forced to huddle in hallways as a tornado damaged parts of the building. No one was injured.

"All of this happened in less than 30 seconds," Cory Thomas, a Hanover volunteer firefighter, told, a local news site.

In Kentucky, a tornado flattened the local fire house in Milton and flattened most of the small town of West Liberty, killing three and injuring 75. All the town's schools were destroyed, and local officials reporting that few recognizable structures remained in West Liberty.

"We may not be done yet," John Hart, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center, told the AP.

Meteorologists drew comparisons between Friday's devastation to a "super outbreak" of tornadoes in 1974, that killed 63 people from southern Indiana to southern Kentucky.

RECOMMENDED: Can you outsmart a tornado? Take our quiz


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