Tornadoes Kill 9 in Midwest Storms

February 29, 2012 Updated: February 29, 2012

At least nine people were killed in a powerful storm system and its accompanying tornadoes throughout the Midwest on Wednesday, according to reports.

Six people were confirmed dead in the Illinois town of Harrisburg and three were killed across Missouri in the storms, reported CNN. Many others lost their businesses or were left homeless, as some of the tornadoes completely destroyed houses and buildings throughout the region.

“When the sirens were going on this morning … it was eerily quiet. I had a gut feeling something was wrong,” Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg told CNN.

The tornado that hit Harrisburg was an EF4, which is the second highest rating, officials told the news agency.

Another tornado smashed through the music town of Branson, Mo., and damaged some of the city’s landmark theaters and other tourist attractions, reported The Associated Press.

“We were blessed with several things—the time of year and certainly the time of day, when people were not in their vehicles or outdoors,” Mayor Raeanne Presley told AP, referring to the town’s busy tourist season that draws tens of thousands.