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Twister damage assessed

Damage assessments were underway Monday in the wake of weekend tornadoes that swept across several midwestern states.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | March 13, 2006

Damage assessments were underway Monday in the wake of weekend tornadoes that swept across several midwestern states.

Shelters were open in local churches and public schools across the region. National faith-based response groups were making contact with local clergy to assess needs.

In a Monday afternoon press conference, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said the damage in Springfield and in the village of Jerome was extensive. It's very bad from the standpoint of property damage, he said. Fortunately there was no loss of life but there were 24 injuries.

Blagojevich has declared a state disaster for several affected counties, and has asked federal assessors to deploy to his state as well.

Ten deaths were blamed on the storms, which swept through Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri over the weekend.

A tornado struck far northeast Oklahoma near the communities of Oaks and Kansas, in southern Delaware County, the National Weather Service reported.

Sixty homes were damaged in the Twin Oaks-Colcord area. Of those, 36 were destroyed, said state emergency managers.

Northwestern Arkansas reported dozens of homes were destroyed or damaged in Benton County. The towns of Centerton appeared to bear the brunt of the damage, though Bentonville, Little Flock and Avoca were hard hit as well. Benton County emergency management reports indicated 20-25 structures were destroyed and 70 more were damaged.

At least 12 people were injured in Arkansas.

In Missouri, several rural communities were badly hit. In Johnson County, 14 homes were destroyed and 15 more homes had major to moderate damage. Another ten homes were destroyed in Perry County. Eight trailer homes were damaged or destroyed in Monroe County as well.

Thousands of people in the region were still without power Monday afternoon. Storm damage wasn't limited to tornado destruction; softball-size hail, straight-line winds and flash flooding also affected homes and businesses.

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