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The fast-moving storm blew in from the Pacific Northwest on the strength of a jet stream that is about one-third stronger than normal for this time of year, said David Imy, operations chief at the NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. As the system moved into the nation’s heartland, it drew in the warm air needed to fuel thunderstorms. Then the winds intensified and tornadoes formed.

Tornadoes whirled through Racine County, Wis., where two people were injured when a section of roof was torn off a tractor factory, and in Van Wert County, Ohio, near the Indiana border, where a barn was flattened and winds flipped over a tractor-trailer and camper. A tornado also touched down in Peotone, Ill., where three people were injured when a home’s roof came off, and twisters were suspected in several other states.

An apparent tornado on the Chickamauga Dam in Chattanooga, Tenn., caused an accident that led to the closure of the highway and injured several people.

The National Weather Service confirmed that eight tornadoes struck in Indiana on Tuesday but that no serious damage or injuries were reported. It said Ohio saw three twisters.

In suburban Chicago, Helen Miller, 41, was injured when a branch fell about 65 feet from a large tree, crashed into her car and impaled her abdomen. Doctors removed the branch, and Mrs. Miller’s husband said she asked him to hang on to it.

“She wants to save it for an art project or something,” Todd Miller told the Chicago Sun-Times. “She’s a bit of a free spirit, so I ran with it.”

Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein and Sofia A. Mannos in Washington; Karen Hawkins, Carla K. Johnson, Tamara Starks and Lindsey Tanner in Chicago; David Aguilar in Detroit; John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich.; Tom Davies in South Bend, Ind.; Jeannie Nuss in Columbus, Ohio; Doug Whiteman in Cleveland; Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee; and Jim Suhr in St. Louis contributed to this story.