Rescue workers searched for survivors on Saturday after scores of tornadoes tore across the central United States, killing at least 31 people and wiping out whole communities.

Trucks and trees were tossed aside like playthings on Friday as deadly funnel clouds descended on five States. The images were surreal: a school bus smashed through the wall of a house, trucks thrown into lakes, solid brick homes reduced to rubble and wooden ones smashed into kindling, mobile homes flipped like tin cans. The death toll in Indiana reached 13 late Friday, officials said. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of 12 fatalities.

A total of 13 tornadoes passed through that state on Friday, according to the Kentucky Emergency Management agency. Two more deaths were reported by authorities in the neighbouring state of Ohio. The latest wave of storms comes after a string of twisters killed 13 people earlier in the week.

The National Weather Service had received 83 reports of tornadoes in eight States by Friday evening, bringing the week's total to 133, though not all were confirmed.

The hardest hit included the town of Marysville, about 65 km from Louisville, Kentucky, which for all practical purposes has ceased to exist. “That's the information we have, that Marysville is no longer,” U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana said.

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