A deadly Tornado struck Joplin, Missouri Sunday night - flattening homes, toppling trees and doing severe damage to a hospital.  At least two dozen deaths have been reported by officals and the Governor has deployed the National Guard to the area.  Significant damage was done to St. John's Regional Medical Center and there are numerous reports of people trapped under rubble in their homes.

Tornadoes overnight in northeast Kansas killed one person and damaged some 200 structures, and resulted in a state of emergency being declared for 16 counties, state officials said on Sunday.

Another tornado ripped through the north end of Minneapolis and some suburbs on Sunday, tearing roofs off dozens of homes and garages, killing one person and injuring at least 18 others, authorities said.

Elsewhere in the country, towns along the lower Mississippi River were coping with floodwaters, and parts of the Midwest and Southeast faced the threat of violent thunderstorms, hail and strong winds.

In Kansas the known tornado damage was centered around the town of Reading, said Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson.

Initial reports indicated there were 200 structures in the town and surrounding community that had some type of damage ranging from minor to severe, she told Reuters by phone.

At least 20 homes were destroyed, she said.

A separate statement from the Emergency Management Division said most of the destroyed homes were in the town.

Reading was still without power or water Sunday evening, Watson said.

Gail Lewis was on her way to Reading to visit friends when the tornado struck. She said she arrived in town before most responders and saw downed trees and damaged homes.

"Our church had one side completely blown out," said Lewis, whose father is pastor of the Reading First Baptist Church.

"People were in shock last night," Lewis said. "It's a devastating blow for such a small community."

Details about the storm death in Minneapolis were not immediately released, but local news reports said the individual died when a tree toppled onto a minvan.

The twister struck Sunday afternoon and plowed across a 3- to 5-mile area in a northeasterly direction, Assistant City Fire Chief Cherie Penn told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Overhead television news footage of the aftermath showed dozens of homes and garages heavily damaged, many missing their roofs. Trees and power lines also were downed along the path of the tornado.

Elsewhere in the nation, AccuWeather.com meteorologists said "violent" thunderstorms would target cities from the southern Plains through the Great Lakes late Sunday.

Thunderstorms in portions of the Plains and Tennessee River Valley were producing heavy rains and large hail, the start of a large, severe weather event that would continue into the night, according to an AccuWeather.com report.

Meteorologists said some of the storms would produce tornadoes, especially across the central and northern Mississippi River Valley.

"The corridor from Tulsa, Okla., to St. Louis, Mo., to Madison, Wis., stands to be at the greatest risk for tornadic activity through this evening," AccuWeather.com said.

Meteorologists said the main threats would be large hail and damaging wind gusts, and flash flooding also could occur.

"Fairly significant" rains are predicted to continue in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys during the next five days, said National Weather Service meteorologist Larry Vannozzi.

But the rains won't be as widespread or intense as the weeks of heavy downpours that contributed to the Mississippi River rising to historic levels, said Vannozzi.

The river, which hit record crests in Mississippi at Vicksburg and Natchez, will slowly inch downward at those gauges in the next few days and is unlikely to rise again as a result of the additional rain, Vannozzi said.

"It's just going to prevent it from getting better sooner," he said.