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Severe Storms Rake Midwest, Damaging Homes, Businesses

A line of severe thunderstorms spawned tornadoes and strong winds across parts of the Midwest on Tuesday.

In Illinois, one of the hardest hit areas was Coal City, a town of 5,000 people just south of Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reports that authorities believe a tornado raked the area overnight, damaging homes and other buildings.

The Tribune reports:

"As of 4:30 a.m., Coal City officials had moved from search and rescue operations to assessing the damage left by what they said was a tornado, according to Coal City Police Sgt. Thomas Logan.

" 'We did get pretty devastated,' he said.

"Logan said the suspected tornado hit the west side of Coal City High School, though it did not damage the building and then continued through town and then south. A subdivision near the high school as well as the downtown area sustained damage. Many streets were impassable early Tuesday due to downed power lines and trees as well as flooding, Logan said."

In Michigan much the same story held true. From NPR member station WDET, Jerome Vaughn told our Newscast unit that parts of the state are starting to clean up.

He filed this report:

"A line of severe storms passed through Michigan late in the evening and into the early morning hours. The small town of Millington was hit hard, with reports of trees snapped in two and some houses damaged.

"A handful of homes were also damaged in Manchester, a few miles southwest of Ann Arbor. Emergency management officials say the storm caused power outages and downed trees.

"The National Weather Service says an EF1 tornado with winds of up to 100 mph passed through the town of Portland, Mich., near Lansing yesterday afternoon. Several buildings were damaged. Officials say the storm caused only minor injuries."

The Associated Press reports that five people in the state had to be rescued.

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