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Salvaging what remains of Illinois town hit hardest by deadly tornado

Jim Young / Reuters

Jordan Youssef salvages a dresser drawer from the remains of her grandmother's house which was destroyed by a tornado in Harrisburg, Illinois, on March 1. Powerful storms that spawned tornadoes ripped through the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people, including six in Illinois who were crushed when a house was lifted up and fell on them, authorities said.

Jim Young / Reuters

Sharon Johnson looks at her ring found among the destruction to her apartment caused by a tornado in Harrisburg, Illinois, on March 1. Powerful storms that spawned tornadoes ripped through the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people, including six in Illinois who were crushed when a house was lifted up and fell on them, authorities said.

HARRISBURG, Illinois -- Residents of storm-tossed midwestern towns searched for photographs and mementos from their ruined homes on Thursday as the death toll from a line of tornado-producing storms rose to 13, while more storms bore down on the region.

The worst loss of life from the line of "super-cell" storms, which marched across the Midwest and produced 35 tornado reports from late Tuesday through Wednesday, was in Harrisburg, where six people died.

Jim Young / Reuters

Ida Evans looks through the rubble for her parents' belongings which were blown across the street by a tornado in Harrisburg, Illinois, on March 1. Powerful storms that spawned tornadoes ripped through the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people, including six in Illinois who were crushed when a house was lifted up and fell on them, authorities said.

A powerful tornado tore a path across the city's southern edge, where a residential neighborhood and a shopping district were flattened and virtually unrecognizable.

Power company crews were out on Thursday restoring electricity, and several residents sifted through rubble for something to salvage. Occasionally, a chain-saw roared to life, breaking the quiet.

Read the full story.

-- Reuters

Jim Young / Reuters

Ed Mellton looks over the remains of a rental house he owned, which was destroyed by a tornado in Harrisburg, Illinois, on March 1. Powerful storms that spawned tornadoes ripped through the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people, including six in Illinois who were crushed when a house was lifted up and fell on them, authorities said.

At least 12 people were killed after devastating tornadoes and storms steamrolled through the Midwest and South. NBC's Lester Holt and TODAY's Al Roker report.