Discuss as:

Sifting through the debris of the tornado aftermath

Whitney Curtis / Getty Images

Steve McDonald stands in the debris of his mother-in-law, Mary Osman's home. Osman was killed after a tornado touched down on Feb. 29 in Harrisburg, Ill.

Twisters roared through the nation's heartland in the early morning darkness Wednesday tearing through small towns in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, and Missouri. 

In Harrisburg, Ill., a town of 9,000, residents sorted through piles of debris and remembered their dead while the winds still howled around them.

Not long after the storm, Darrell Osman raced to his mother's home, arriving just in time to speak to her before she was taken to a hospital with a head injury, a severe cut to her neck and a broken arm and leg.

"She was conscious. I wouldn't say she was coherent. There were more mumbles than anything," he said. "She knew we were there."

Mary Osman died a short time later.

-- The Associated Press

Related Posts:

Laurie Skrivan / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via Zuma Press

One of the owner's of Dream Baskets, a gourmet food eatery located off Route 45, look out the exposed north side of the restaurant, which was destroyed by a tornado on Feb. 29 in Harrisburg, Ill.

Sarah Conard / Reuters

Carissa Westfall helps salvage products from Nature's Sunshine Health Foods store in Branson, Missouri, on Feb. 29.