Massive thunderstorms, predicted for days, threw off dozens of tornadoes as they raced from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, obliterating entire Indiana towns and killing at least 29 people in three states.
Some rural communities in Kentucky remain cut off and the lack of electricity is making search and rescue more difficult.
Authorities fear what dawn may reveal and say the death toll may
Twisters crushed entire blocks of homes, knocked out cellphones and landlines alike, ripped power lines from broken poles and tossed cars, school buses and tractor-trailers onto roadways made
impassable by debris.
Both the scale of the devastation and the breadth of the storms made an immediate assessment of the havoc's full extent all but impossible.
Indiana reports at least 14 dead along with a dozen in Kentucky and three in Ohio.