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Severe thunderstorm kills 1 north of Minneapolis

world Updated: May 26, 2008 09:32 IST

AP
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Severe thunderstorms packing large hail and possible tornadoes rumbled across the United States' midsection, killing at least one person, injuring nine others and damaging dozens of homes.

At least 20 people were unaccounted for after a swift storm blew through the St Paul suburb of Hugo yesterday, damaging about four dozen homes, City Administrator Mike Ericson said. Many of them could be out of town for the holiday weekend, he said.

Ericson said a 2-year-old child died.

"It's horrible," Ericson said. "The citizens are very shook and scared."

Hugo Fire Chief Jim Compton said nine people, including a child in critical condition, were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

Residents reported a tornado touching down in the area, but that had not been confirmed by the National Weather Service.

Emergency crews descended on the town to look for those who had not been accounted for and to assess the damage.

Hugo Public Works Director Chris Petree said his family took shelter in the basement before the storm lifted his house off the ground and completely wiped out the second floor.

"I put my daughter down first, my wife on top of her and then I bear-hugged on top of them," Petree said.

As he huddled in his basement against a foundation wall with his wife and two-year-old daughter, Petree said they heard the thunderous sound of their house coming off the ground.