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Severe weather rakes Midwest; 7 dead

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Storms wreck power plant, level homes
  • NEW: Ohio death toll reaches seven
  • Tornado watch from New England southward to Virginia
  • Deaths include 5-year-old child
  • Storm damage prompts shutdown of Michigan nuclear plant

(CNN) -- Seven people were killed in Ohio as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes raked the Midwest on Saturday and early Sunday, authorities said.

The deaths came in Wood County when a tornado touched down there overnight, state Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Kelli Blackwell told CNN. Wood County is about 30 miles south of Toledo.

A 5-year-old child was among the deaths in Millbury, Ohio, according to Wood County dispatchers, who received the information from Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer. Four other victims ranged in age from 20 to 56, dispatchers said, and details on the remaining two were not immediately available.

A man was also found dead in the street in Millbury, and two adults died in a van in Lake Township, about five miles from Millbury, Blackwell said.

In Michigan, 11 people were injured when a storm struck Monroe County, and damage to the exterior wall of the Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant prompted an automatic shutdown, said Dan Smith, spokesman for the county's emergency management division. The plant will remain closed until crews have assessed the damage, he said.

Ten people were taken to hospitals by ambulance, and one was flown, after the storm struck about 3 a.m. Sunday, Smith said. Field crews were assessing the number of homes and businesses damaged in Dundee Village and Dundee Township, he said.

Video: Roofs torn off in Illinois tornadoes
Video: Deadly tornado hits northwest Ohio
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Up to 500 people staying at a water park resort were evacuated safely to a middle school, Smith said.

Several other communities in Illinois were hard-hit by severe weather. The town of Streator looks "like a war zone," Mayor Jimmie Lansford said. A total of 50 people were triaged, and 17 were transferred to hospitals and later released, he said.

The National Weather Service confirmed Sunday the tornado was an F2, with winds between 113 and 157 mph. Officials report about 30 homes damaged, including three destroyed on the south side of Streator.

"It cut a path from the west side of town all the way through to the east side of town," Lansford said.

Many trees and power lines were downed and a couple of businesses sustained some damage but the extent is unknown, Lansford said.

"If it would have been two blocks farther north, St. Mary's Hospital would have been right in the path and it would have been devastating," Lansford said. "It could have been a lot worse."

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A tornado touched down in Elmwood, Illinois, Saturday night, according to the Peoria County Sheriff's Office. Pictures from CNN affiliate WMBD showed a twisted gas station awning and streets covered with debris, branches and broken glass. The tornado ripped through downtown Elmwood, tearing the second stories off buildings in some cases, WMBD reported.

Footage of storm damage across several states showed buildings with roofs ripped off, other structures reduced to rubble and overturned school buses and RVs.

CNN's Ashley Hayes, John Branch and Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.