EVANSVILLE, Ind. - A tornado ripped across southwestern Indiana and northern Kentucky early Sunday, killing at least 15 people, wrecking homes and knocking out power to thousands, authorities said.
The tornado touched down near Henderson, Ky., and jumped the Ohio River into Indiana at around 2 a.m.
Indiana homeland security spokeswoman Pam Bright said 15 deaths had been confirmed in the state's southwest corner around Evansville.
Of those killed, Bright said 10 people died on the southeast side of Evansville in the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park, and that victims were still being pulled from the debris by late morning.
Bright said the park, with about 350 homes, was devastated by the twister.
"We're treating the trailer park as a mass disaster area," Eric Williams, chief deputy of the Vanderburgh County sheriff's department, told the Evansville Courier & Press.
Five others were confirmed dead in adjoining Warrick County, east of Evansville, where the Ohio River city of Newburgh was struck after 2 a.m., Bright said.
The tornado developed in a line of thunderstorms that rolled rapidly eastward across the Ohio Valley during the morning. The
National Weather Service posted severe thunderstorm warnings for sections of northern Ohio.
The damage path through Newburgh, eight miles east of Evansville, was about three-quarters of a mile wide, and extended for roughly 20 miles, Assistant Fire Chief Chad Bennett told CNN. He said emergency sirens sounded, but most people didn't hear them because it happened in the middle of the night.
No deaths were reported in Kentucky, said Michelle King, a dispatcher with the Henderson County sheriff's office.
At the Ellis Park racetrack, between Evansville and Henderson, Ky., the Henderson County Sheriff's department said about half of the track's grandstands had been destroyed, along with horse barns and housing units.
There were conflicting reports of injuries at the track. Paul Kuerzi, the track's vice president and general manager, said several people were injured, but Larry Koerber of the Henderson County emergency management office told MSNBC there was one minor injury. Koerber said four or five horses were dead.
Mike Roeder, a spokesman for utility company Vectren, said 25,000 homes were without power, mostly in Warrick County. There also were reports of natural gas leaks.