METROPOLIS, Ill., May 7 (UPI) -- Tornadoes tore through four counties in Southern Illinois killing two people and destroying more than 20 homes as violent spring weather hit the Midwest and South for a third night.
A 65-year-old Massac County woman was found dead in a pond near her damaged mobile home and a man was killed in Grand Chain in Pulaski County, where damage was widespread.
Illinois State Police said tornadoes, strong winds and hail caused damage in Massac, Pulaski, Pope and Alexander counties Tuesday night. Storms damaged dozens of homes, downed trees and snapped power lines in Jackson and Cape Girardeau counties in neighboring Missouri.
Tornado warnings were in effect in southeastern Missouri, northwestern Mississippi, and portions of northeast Louisiana and Tennessee Wednesday morning.
A fallen tree trapped a Massac County deputy sheriff in his car in Metropolis, Ill., after four tornadoes were sighted. At least 20 people were treated for storm-related injuries at Massac Memorial Hospital and four people were moved to a hospital in Paducah, Ky.
A tornado touched down near Horseshoe Lake in Alexander County but caused no damage and a funnel cloud was spotted northwest of Murphysboro in western Jackson County.
Thunderstorms dumped heavy rain in parts of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia Wednesday, three days after swarms of tornadoes killed at least 40 people -- 18 in Missouri, 15 in Tennessee and seven in Kansas.
A junior high school gym collapsed and an elementary school was damaged in DeSoto, Mo., south of St. Louis, where downed power lines were scattered across flooded roads. A high school and eight other buildings were damaged.
"It really hit us hard," Rick Whitehead, a volunteer helping police and firefighters told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "This town is a disaster."
Missouri Gov. Bob Holden declared Jefferson County a disaster area and visited the hard-hit town. Strong winds and rain battered the St. Louis area overnight producing golf ball-size hail near Union, Mo.
Members of the Missouri National Guard 203rd Engineering Battalion who were preparing for deployment in Iraq were assigned to help clean up devastated Pierce City, Mo. Two people were killed in the collapse of the National Guard Armory in Pierce City Sunday night.
President George W. Bush has issued federal disaster declarations for 39 counties in Missouri and seven Kansas counties.