Tornadoes rip off roofs in Kentucky as severe storms slam central US

NEW YORK — Dangerous tornadoes tore through the central U.S. Tuesday night, including Kentucky, where reported twisters flattened buildings, ripped off roofs and littered streets with debris.

In the last 48 hours, at least 20 tornadoes were reported across nine states: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Many schools across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana announced closures or early dismissals Tuesday as the storms moved in.

In Kentucky, where wind gusts topped 100 mph, Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, saying there were "reports of substantial damage to a number of structures."

Jordan Yuodis, spokesperson for Anchorage Middletown Fire and EMS in Kentucky, told ABC News, "Within a matter of what seemed like minutes, [the weather] went from about 70-75 degrees and sunny to suddenly pitch black and debris flying."

Shortly after 5:15 p.m., officials activated the outdoor warning sirens, Yuodis said.

"Within minutes, we started receiving 911 calls of homes damaged, people trapped in their homes, roads being shut down," he said.

"We responded to multiple homes where the roofs had been completely taken off," Yuodis said. "The roof from one house went across the street and ended up into another home."

"Thanks to the timely forecasts and warnings provided by the National Weather Service, people were able to seek shelter, which, to our knowledge, has been effective," Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said Tuesday night. "I'm pleased to report that as of now, there are no reported injuries or fatalities. ... There is definitely roof damage, significant damage to homes."

On Wednesday, the line of storms is targeting the Interstate 95 corridor from Florida to New Jersey.

The tornado threat is lower, but isolated tornadoes are still possible in North Carolina and Virginia. Damaging winds are expected in Florida and South Carolina.

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