Residents in Indiana and Ohio are surveying the damage after tornadoes collapsed homes and left at least 3 dead

Residents are surveying the damage to their homes as cleanup efforts continue this weekend after several tornadoes ripped across the Midwest, killing at least three people and destroying neighborhoods.

Powerful tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind gusts - part of a storm system that stretched from Texas to Pennsylvania - carved paths of destruction across Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky Thursday night, leaving residents to pick up the pieces after homes were demolished, dozens of people were injured and thousands were left in the dark with power knocked out.

With parts of towns in ruins, search and rescue teams in Indiana and Ohio began looking for survivors Friday among collapsed buildings to make sure there is no one missing.

“Every single one of these facilities are going to have to be checked, especially those that have completely collapsed,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said during a press conference Thursday night.

In Winchester, Indiana, an EF3 tornado destroyed 22 homes, and badly damaged 110 others. Officials said Friday that 38 people were injured from the twister, including three in critical condition.

It was one of more than a half dozen tornadoes reported across six states.

“The wrath of this really begins today when people realize the magnitude of the destruction of their homes and of their livelihoods,” Carter said during a press conference on Friday.

Up to half of the buildings in Selma – a town of about 700 people near Winchester – also appear damaged, the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency said.

Another intense EF3 tornado hit Logan County in neighboring Ohio, leaving at least three people dead and “numerous people” injured, according to Logan County Sheriff Randall Dodds.

“I could best describe it as a bomb going off,” Dodds said of the damage in the area. “Unbelievable damage.”

Dodds told CNN’s John Berman that he believes the number fatalities could increase as first responders continue to search through the rubble. Cadaver dogs will be brought in to help find any residents that may have been left behind by the twisters, as heavy equipment lifts the rubble off demolished homes, Dodds said.

Elsewhere in Ohio, a tornado that struck Mercer County impacted mostly farmland and damaged at least one home and one hog barn, Mike Robbins, the county emergency management director, told CNN by phone. To the east, a storm damaged several trailer homes and three people sustained minor injuries, Robbins said.

A state of emergency was declared in Kentucky, where there was significant damage to likely over 100 structures and other infrastructure Thursday night, officials said.

Along with the twisters, large hail rained over some areas affected by the severe storms. Apple-sized hail was reported in O’Fallon, Missouri, according to the National Weather Service. Indiana State Police reported large pieces of hail after a tornado “reportedly touched down all across Jefferson County,” on Thursday.

A severe weather threat looms for the southeastern and gulf regions through Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Those areas are at risk for severe storms capable of producing large hail, damaging wind gusts and heavy rainfall.

‘It just sounded like everything was just coming apart’

Brittany Oakley checks in with relatives outside of what is left of her home in Lakeview, Ohio, Friday. - Timothy D. Easley/AP
Brittany Oakley checks in with relatives outside of what is left of her home in Lakeview, Ohio, Friday. - Timothy D. Easley/AP

Nancy Brentlinger, who has called Lakeview, Logan County, home since the 1960s, couldn’t believe the damage she was seeing after a tornado struck.

The National Weather Service office confirmed an EF3 tornado hit Lakeview.

“I’ve never seen anything this bad anywhere,” Brentlinger told CNN on Friday.

When she felt strong hail coming towards her home, Brentlinger said she shut her screen door and rushed to the living room, when she felt her “roof was coming off.”

“It just sounded like a freight train was coming through outside,” Brentlinger said. “It just sounded like everything was just coming apart.”

For about 15 minutes, Brentlinger said she sat with her dog on the floor behind a sofa, scared of what would happen when she got up.

“I was afraid to move because I didn’t know whether the house was coming down,” she said.

After the rain stopped, Brentlinger ventured into the darkness with a flashlight and found that her neighbor’s shed fell on top of her house. Bretlinger said her area had experienced “devastation before, but nothing like this.”

In a visit to the county on Friday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he saw “tremendous amount of damage.”

“I had a chance to talk to some people who have lost their house or lost part of their house, or who had been in some way impacted,” the governor said. “And to see their spirit, and their resilience and their toughness and how strong they are, it’s just absolutely amazing to me.”

Another Lakeview resident, Elmer Miller, said he was fixing peoples’ roofs to give back to the community. Miller said he had “homeowners calling me crying” after the destruction wrecked by the tornado.

There’s still much work to be done after homes were demolished, Miller said, with only debris scattered in their place.

The community now has to grapple with the devastation left in the tornado’s wake. A spirit of generosity has endured during the destruction, Brentlinger said, with neighbors offering food and water or other help. But the community will rebuild, she said.

“It’s gonna take a while,” Brentlinger said. “But I’m sure everything’s gonna come back eventually.”

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe, Robert Shackelford, Amanda Jackson, Mallika Kallingal, Sarah Dewberry, Sarah Engel, David Williams, Taylor Ward, Raja Razek, Andy Rose, Jamiel Lynch, Jason Hanna, Caroll Alvarado and Mary Gilbert contributed to this report.

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