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Tornadoes sweep through American Midwest

Homes have been damaged as powerful storms packing multiple tornadoes swept through parts of the US Midwest.

In central Illinois, a tornado destroyed the canopy of a gas station and damaged at least four homes in the Pontiac area.

There were only minor injuries reported, although a couple had been temporarily trapped inside one of the homes.

The National Weather Service reported another tornado near the northern Illinois cities of Amboy in Lee County and Earlville in LaSalle County. There are small towns scattered throughout the area surrounded by farmers' fields.

Wind gusts are projected to be 70mph or greater in some places, and baseball-size hail is possible, according to the weather service's Storm Prediction Centre in Norman, Oklahoma.

Thunderstorms also forced a two-hour delay for football fans in Chile's 2-0 victory over Colombia in the Copa America semi-final at Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears football team. Fans were told to find shelter beneath the stands amid the downpour.

Fans also were told to take shelter at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team, before their game against the Philadelphia Phillies resumed after a 70-minute delay.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said 325 flights in and out of O'Hare International Airport were cancelled and 90-minute delays were reported. Airlines at Midway International Airport cancelled about 70 flights, with 60-minute delays.

About 15,000 customers remained without power in northern Illinois on Wednesday night.

The Northern Indiana Public Service said it had increased staffing at its customer call centre and scheduled extra work crews.

Some parts of the country, including New Jersey, are already dealing with the aftermath of earlier storms.

Utility crews in the southern part of the state were restoring power to homes and businesses. Atlantic City Electric said nearly 6,000 homes and businesses remained without power on Wednesday, down from more than 34,000 customers on Tuesday.


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