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Massive storms hit Midwest with snow, rain, winds

VALE, N.C. - Yolanda Corona prayed she wouldn't die.

She was watching television with 10 relatives when winds from a massive storm tearing across the United States roared through her neighborhood.

The windows blew out of the living room. The chimney caved in. A tree plunged through the roof.

Somehow, they survived.

"We thought we were going to die. We were just so scared," Jessica Vargas, Corona's 18-year-old granddaughter, recalled yesterday. No one was seriously hurt, but now the family must find somewhere to live.

The rare, fast-moving storm also brought winds up to 81 mph, rain and tornadoes that started in the Midwest on Tuesday and continued yesterday, moving into the South and East.

The National Weather Service confirmed that eight tornadoes touched down in Indiana on Tuesday, but that no serious damage or injuries were reported.

Authorities were investigating the death of a Notre Dame student Wednesday after the tower from which he was filming football practice fell over. Winds in the area were gusting to 51 mph at the time, according to the National Weather Service.

Pat Tanner, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Greer, S.C., said a cold front is moving east and meeting warm, moist air causing instability in the atmosphere and spawning the storms.

Tornadoes whirled through Racine County, Wis., where two people were injured when a roof was torn off a tractor factory.

The storm brought heavy snow and winds up to 60 mph to the Dakotas for a second day yesterday.

In North Carolina, at least 11 people were hurt by the winds that destroyed Corona's home.

"We just thank God that everyone is safe," Corona said. - AP

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