At least two dead in severe weather outbreak

MARSHFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- At least two deaths are reported in Missouri after a rare January tornado outbreak across several Midwest states.

An elderly woman was killed near Strafford in Greene County and a 53-year-old woman was killed in a rural area north of Marshfield in Webster County.

In McHenry County in northern Illinois, about 500 people fled their homes after a suspected tornado knocked over rail cars carrying hazardous materials.

Several homes were destroyed in Poplar Grove, Illinois, where authorities rescued motorists trapped by downed, live power lines. Crews searched damaged structures to make sure no one was trapped. Three people suffered minor injuries.

A tornado also ripped through Wisconsin's Kenosha County. Authorities report 11 houses in Wheatland were destroyed but there were no serious injuries. The sheriff calls that a miracle.

The Midwest storms were triggered by warm, moist air from the South that sent temperatures soaring to nearly 70 degrees Sunday and Monday.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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