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Fresh round of storms batter US

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Volunteers carry a piece of debris to a rubbish pile at a home destroyed by a tornado in Piedmont (AP)

Volunteers carry a piece of debris to a rubbish pile at a home destroyed by a tornado in Piedmont (AP)

Volunteers carry a piece of debris to a rubbish pile at a home destroyed by a tornado in Piedmont (AP)

Powerful storms have roared through middle America, with weak tornadoes touching down in isolated spots and severe thunderstorms threatening several states.

The National Weather Service issued tornado watches and a series of warnings in a dozen states, stretching north-west from Texas though the Mississippi River valley to Ohio.

"Everybody's working as fast and furious as possible," said Beverly Poole, chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service's office in Kentucky, which covers south-eastern Missouri and southern Illinois. "This is just a wild ride."

There were no immediate reports of deaths from the new round of storms, though authorities reported dozens of minor injuries following brief tornado touchdowns in Missouri and Indiana.

Wednesday's storms followed a deadly outbreak on Tuesday in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas that killed at least 15 people. The nation's deadliest single tornado since 1950 killed 125 on Sunday in the south-west Missouri city of Joplin.

Heavy rain, hail and lightning pounded Memphis early on Thursday as a tornado warning sounded. Menacing clouds showed some rotation, but there were no confirmed reports of tornadoes touching down.

Southern Indiana authorities said at least 12 people were treated for non-life-threatening injuries after a tornado touched down east of Bedford, flattening homes, barns and other structures in its path.

Earlier in the day, as many as 25 people suffered minor injuries when a tornado damaged several homes and businesses in the central Missouri city of Sedalia. Officials said most were able to get themselves the hospital for treatment.

"Considering the destruction that occurred in Joplin - being that we're in tornado alley and Sedalia has historically been hit by tornadoes in the past - I think people heeded that warning," Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said. "And so, I think that helped tremendously."

In Illinois, high winds, rain and at least four possible tornadoes knocked down power lines and damaged at least one home and a number of farm buildings across the central and eastern parts of the state.

PA