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17 tornadoes reported in 7 states across the Plains

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — At least 17 tornadoes were reported in seven states overnight into Tuesday morning, as the tornado threat continues Wednesday for parts of the country.

The twisters were reported in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee and South Dakota.

One of the hardest-hit areas in the storm was Barnsdall, Oklahoma, north of Tulsa. One person was killed and several injured, according to Barnsdall Mayor Johnny Kelley.

Kelley said there was “significant damage” to much of the small town, including several homes that were “completely leveled” and a nursing home that was destroyed.

“We need a lot of prayers,” Kelley told reporters during a press briefing following the tornado.

Approximately 25 people were rescued following an initial search, Kelley said. One person remains unaccounted for as another search effort got underway Tuesday, he said. Access to the town was closed while authorities conducted the search.

The destructive tornado was the second to hit Barnsdall in recent weeks.

“It’s a devastating blow to the people in the community,” Kelley said. “It’s going to be life-changing.”

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, had issued the highest-possible severe weather risk alert for multiple intense, long-track tornadoes Monday afternoon and evening.

The tornado threat moves into Ohio Valley and parts of the southern Great Lakes Wednesday afternoon and evening. The highest tornado threat will be from St. Louis to Paducah, Kentucky, and Evansville, Indiana, to Nashville, Tennessee.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear urged residents to prepare for the severe weather — including “potentially significant tornadoes,” flooding, hail and high winds — expected to hit much of the state over the next few days.

“We have been through all of those and we have seen how deadly they can be,” Beshear said during a press briefing Tuesday. “So we need everyone to take action now by making a plan to keep yourself and your family safe.”

ABC News’ Kenton Gewecke and Melissa Griffin contributed to this report.

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