More than 50 million people are in the path of a severe storm that began tearing through the US Midwest on Sunday. The storm brought heavy wind, rain and tornadoes that caused severe damage across ten states.
"We obviously have a very dangerous situation on our hands and it's just getting started," said Laura Furgione, deputy director of the National Weather Service.
She added: "Get ready now."
The community of Washington, Illinois, appeared to be the hardest hit when what the National Weather Service called a "large and extremely dangerous" tornado tore through the city of 15,000 people.
Buildings and homes were completely flattened by the strength of the storm, witnesses said.
"We have reports of homes being flattened, roofs being torn off," Sara Sparkman, a spokeswoman for the health department of Tazewell County, Illinois, where Washington is located, told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We have actual whole neighborhoods being demolished by the storm."
At least one person was confirmed killed in a storm-related incident, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency told NBC.
Tornado warnings were in effect for parts of Indiana and Kentucky.
The Weather Channel also identified parts of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, lower-middle Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley as some of the areas most at risk for severe winds and possible tornadoes.
The weather also affected Sunday football with the Chicago Bears versus Baltimore Ravens game postponed due to the weather. The seating area at Chicago's Soldier Field was evacuated, according to team officials.
The game resumed after a two-hour delay.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn warned residents that the weather and storms across the state were "very serious."
"I urge everyone to pay attention to all weather alerts and stay home and inside if possible," Quinn said in a statement.
"Driving during these severe conditions is extremely dangerous. All residents should stay off the roads until these storms and flood warnings subside."
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