Families in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Tennessee and Indiana, are trying to put the pieces of their lives back together tonight after 20 reported tornadoes carved a path across the nation in the predawn hours of February 29, 2012.

At least 10 people died in the series of tornadoes, which began their swath of destruction just before 1:00am Wednesday morning.

In Harrisburg, Illinois, six people lost their lives when an EF-4 tornado ripped through the city. The storm leveled much of the town of 9,000 people. The 170mph winds damaged 300 buildings. 100 people were treated for injuries. The youngest victim of this powerful twister was 22.

In Branson, Missouri, three people died when an EF-2 tornado slammed into the popular resort town.

The Weather Channel's Mike Bettes posted an amazing photo slide to his twitter that gives a 360* panoramic view of the damage in Branson.

City leaders say the timing of the tornado is the only fortunate thing about the twister. Had it struck two weeks from now the town would have been full of tourists, and the death count there would probably have been much higher.

Early estimates from the National Weather Service clock the winds that tore through Branson at 120-130mph.

In Harveyville, Kansas, another EF-2 tornado demolished the Methodist Church built in 1885, a landmark in the town. Remarkably no one died in the Kansas tornado but several people were injured.

 

Before dawn yet another tornado would touch down in Newburgh, Indiana. Preliminary reports say it was an EF-1 tornado that pulled apart homes, businesses and lives in this small midwestern town. Fortunately, no deaths were reported in Indiana, either.

 

 

To help the victims of these deadly tornadoes contact the American Red Cross. Donations will go directly to those families in need.