At least six people died, more than 50 were injured and hundreds more lost their homes when tornadoes and powerful storms swept across the Midwest over the weekend, the media reported Monday.

All six fatalities were in Illinois, the most heavily affected state, but tornadoes and storms also caused serious problems in Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri.

Meteorologists tallied 81 tornadoes and storms, some of them packing winds in excess of 320 kph (198 mph), ABC News said on its Web page.

Some towns were wiped out by the powerful winds, including Washington, Illinois, where one person died.

Three other people died in the southern county of Massac, while in the central Illinois agricultural community of New Minden, two farmers were swept away by the strong winds and killed.

Hundreds of thousands of people have no electricity and the economic damage will rise into the millions of dollars, CNN reported.

With the first light of day, emergency teams resumed their operations to look for people trapped under the ruins and to assess the damage.

Witnesses described how dozens of homes lost their roofs and numerous automobiles were thrown into the air by the power of the wind.

In Chicago, the storms, which brought rain and hail, forced authorities to suspend the NFL game between the Bears and the Baltimore Ravens for two hours. EFE