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22 Feared Dead After Storms Hit Midwest

May 05, 2003|From Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A series of tornadoes and high winds pummeled the Midwest on Sunday, killing an estimated 22 people in three states as storms left a swath of destruction a quarter-mile wide in some places.

In Missouri, Lawrence County Sheriff Doug Seneker estimated a dozen people were killed when a tornado careened through the southwest part of the state. A Pierce City police officer described the downtown area as "wiped out," Seneker said.

Two women were reported dead in nearby Greene and Christian counties, said Dave Brown, an investigator for the Greene County medical examiner's office. One of the women was killed near Battlefield in Christian County and the other in rural Greene County.

Two more people were killed in Camden County, about 70 miles northeast of Lawrence County, the Camden County Sheriff's Department said. One person died in Tennessee's Dyer County.

In Kansas, Col. Joy Moser of the state's emergency management office said her agency confirmed four deaths in Girard and Franklin in Crawford County and one in Wyandotte County in the Kansas City area.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius declared seven counties disaster areas, and Missouri Gov. Bob Holden said the process was underway to declare disaster areas in his state.

Missouri officials told the National Guard to be ready to go to storm-damaged areas. Holden said the damage was "the worst I've seen from a tornado in several years."

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