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Deadly Tornadoes On Top of the Devastating Floods in the Midwest; Four Boy Scouts Killed in Tornado in Iowa

Aired June 12, 2008 - 09:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Here's what on the rundown. "All of a sudden the tornado was on top of us." A Boy Scout relays the terror of a twister. It killed four fellow scouts in Iowa.
Tornadoes also tears through a college campus in Kansas this morning. We'll hear from survivors and rescuers, in the NEWSROOM.

Weather is the major news this morning. Deadly tornadoes on top of the devastating floods in the Midwest.

A twister tore through a Boy Scout camp last night killing at least four people. Dozens are injured.

We are expecting a news conference any minute now so we'll take you there when that happens. Also want to let you know details on deadly tornadoes that hit Kansas. We'll have all the latest on the severe flooding across the Midwest as well.

Let's go live right now, though, to the Boy Scout camp flattened by the tornado. Sean Callebs is live from Little Sioux, Iowa.

Sean, good morning.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi. We're actually about three miles away from the camp site. Authorities are not letting us any closer than this. But after talking to scouts, we are hearing amazing stories of survival and simply frightening stories as people basically stared death in the face last night.

I happened around 6:35. There was a violent storm that had moved into this area. There were 93 teenagers -- Boy Scouts, 25 adults and they were basically watching a lightning storm, and the rain come down, then the power went off in one of the few solid structures in this 1,800-acre area that is the camp site for the Boy Scouts.

At that point one of the scout leaders went out to get a flashlight, immediately ran back into the structure, said, "Everybody, take cover." At that point the people in the shelter ducked underneath picnic tables and then the worst hit.

A funnel cloud slammed into the structure bringing a huge fireplace made of brick and stone down on top of many of the teenagers. That's what caused the four deaths and many of the injuries.

But there -- not everybody was in those shelters. We talked to one scout, 18-year-old Thomas White. He was outside when the tornado blew through.

Listen to what he did.


THOMAS WHITE, BOY SCOUT LEADER: I laid in the ditch and the tornado went right over the top of me and then I ran back to this other shelter where there were like 50 other kids and made sure they are all right. I got ahold of a walkie-talkie and I was able to radio -- the camp, like doctor, and I asked them what I needed to do, so I -- so he said just come out and get a first aid, and then go up to the north valley because there's lots of people hurt.

And that's what I did. I just booked it.


CALLEBS: Now some key questions: did the scouts, did the adults have a warning that a killer storm was moving into the area? The National Weather Service says it did issue a warning about 12 to 13 minutes before the tornado touched down here near Little Sioux.

However, the scouts said they have a weather radio with them, but there was so much lightning in the area that they couldn't hear anything on that radio, Heidi, so that's really what -- the scouts have to deal with at that time.

Their motto is be prepared. That's exactly what they were yesterday, because they had gone through a...


CALLEBS: ... emergency preparedness drill just a day before that so they knew what to do and that clearly saved a lot of people from more serious injuries and hopefully more people from losing their lives.

COLLINS: Yes, boy, we certainly hope that's the case because that's what we had heard from Thomas White saying that they were so glad they had just gone through those drills, because it could have been so much worse.

Sean Callebs, thanks so much. A live report coming to us from Little Sioux.

Frightening accounts of the Iowa tornado from witnesses.

Rob Logsdon was injured in the storm. He's actually out of the hospital now and on the phone with us from Lawton, Iowa.

Rob, if you can hear, can you start by telling me about what you remember of what happened?

ROB LOGSDON, INJURED IN IOWA TORNADO: Well, from what I remember, we were outside the administration building, kind of watching the storm, kind of watching the lightning bolts and watching -- kind of watching the rain and stuff.

And then we were at the, like -- we were at the administration building and we saw it come around a bluff from the south and it -- well, it was a funnel cloud that was kind of going toward the ground. So we told them to sound the siren because there were no adult leaders outside so...

COLLINS: You told them to sound the sirens?

LOGSDON: Yes, like these kids that were outside, we were staff members. And we told the adult staff to sound the siren. And then the youth staff took off running to the assigned valleys that we were supposed to be in, like, I was supposed to be in the north valley. That's where the kids -- a group of like eight kids I was in charge of.

And we were up there for a couple of minutes, and then the power went off. And then our adult leaders that came up, he drove his Ford Ranger up there. He went outside to try and fix it, and the -- he -- took one step outside, turn around, he came right back in, and he said, "Everybody, under the tables right now."

COLLINS: What did you think when you heard him say that?

LOGSDON: I was like, oh, crap, it must be really close. And I was, like, this should be pretty crazy here. And it's exactly what I thought and I was there. We got under the tables and not two seconds later, it was -- it came in and it ripped all the doors wide open and some of the windows broke. My ears popped real bad.

And -- actually I got no (INAUDIBLE) when my ears popped. The walls and the rest of the shelter were just (INAUDIBLE) like, like just a snap of the fingers and it's gone. And we were -- and we were still hearing this tornado so -- right on top of us the way it was blowing in.

It knocked the chimney in the building over and it landed on the kids and right when I was -- I got hit from behind my table and it (INAUDIBLE) and I cut my right knee and I had four stitches of that. I got a sprained right ankle and then my -- I was under there and I got out as fast as I could after it was gone.

And I was trying to pull bricks off of that table. It hit me because it was on top of another kid, like, totally. That kid's head was the only thing sticking out from underneath the table. So I was pulling the bricks off as I turned to throw something out of the way, my hip popped back into place and it, like, sent pain all the way from my hip down my whole leg.

And then I couldn't do anything more because it was such a back pain right away. So as I was leaning up against the table I was right there. I was totally fine and then I got carried over to our adult leader's Ford Ranger which is 50 yards away from where it was parked.

COLLINS: Wow. LOGSDON: And we were sitting in the back, a couple of us, and the kids, and I was pretty much -- I was the coldest one that was over there, and everybody else was kind of freaking out and they were sobbing uncontrollably, because they were so scared and stuff, and me and some -- and another kid walked over.

We were trying to comfort them as much as possible and then we kind of hold down after a few minutes and then we said a little prayer. And then right after we were done prayer, the -- we started calling our parents on our cell phones. And then the rescue people came.

Right after that we saw the first -- rescue people and we saw the helicopter fly over us.

COLLINS: What did that feel like, Rob, when you saw them coming in?

LOGSDON: It was just a big relief, because the scouts that were uninjured were still pulling bricks off the pile because there were still people underneath.


LOGSDON: It was just kind of a big relief to see more help that was totally uninjured and more experienced on what to do.

COLLINS: Right. Well, listen, I know you are only 15 years old, as experienced as you may be with your scout life. Incredible fortitude that you showed on your part even as an injured guy trying to help out.

And you were in charge of eight kids, you said. Do you remember what you tried to tell them? To try to keep them calm?

LOGSDON: Well, actually, we were in our little troop shelter. They have tables, assigned tables they sit at. And I was at the front and my group was at the back where they're supposed to sit. So I didn't make it back to where they were sitting. I just crawled under the first table that was right next to me.

And afterwards I saw a couple of them on the ground and stuff. And I was like, hey, it's OK. It will be all right. And after I got hurt, because I was being -- as I was being carried away, I was like, it's OK. It will be OK. They -- I told them they still had their lives, so they are still very lucky.

COLLINS: Right. Well, I can't imagine the sheer terror of all of what you were feeling.

Do you remember at all, Rob, hearing any warnings? You talk about this siren. Once that went off -- you know, we've heard about this weather radio that was just so darn difficult to hear because of the actually tornado and the lightning that was taking place at the time. What do you remember about that? LOGSDON: I remember I was just kind of sitting there in the shelter and then all of a sudden we were under the tables and like three seconds after the lights went out, it was on top of us. And it sounded like a jet flying right past you.

COLLINS: Did it feel like it was too late as far as getting any significant warning?

LOGSDON: We -- actually 12 minutes before it kind of came and hit the camp, they issued a tornado warning for southern Monona County, which is where we were.


LOGSDON: And we were there. Then we were like, OK. So we've got to be watching.


LOGSDON: And we were outside anyway. So we were watching the storm. And we saw it come around the bluff and we just kind of kicked into action right away.

COLLINS: Exactly.

Well, Rob, we certainly appreciate your story. So very glad that you're with us this morning and OK. I can still hear a shaky voice, so I hope that you will be able to calm down a bit and be with your family over these next few days and try to get through some very tough memories that I know you already have.

Rob Logsdon, so appreciate your time this morning.

LOGSDON: Yes. Thank you.

COLLINS: Reynolds Wolf is standing by in the Weather Center now with more on these tornadoes.

And boy, it's amazing. We always talk about these weather radios and having them with you, and what we've been learning is they couldn't hear them very well.


COLLINS: Boy, it just keeps on coming. Glad you're over there, Reynolds. We'll check back with you a little bit later on.

WOLF: You bet.

COLLINS: All right. Thanks.

And of course, we are following this breaking story all morning long. More on the tornadoes that also hit Kansas. And we're going to be watching our affiliates from across the Midwest as well. We're going to tell you more tornado survivor stories when we come back.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Plus old McDonald had a farm, and it is under water.

You will be with us in a flooded field in Wisconsin next on the CNN NEWSROOM.

ANNOUNCER: CNN NEWSROOM brought to you by...


COLLINS: Happening right now a news conference we want to get to about the Boy Scout camp in Iowa.

Let's go ahead and listen in for just a moment.

GOV. CHET CULVER, IOWA: The entire Boy Scout nation not only across the states of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota where these men were from, but also across the United Nations of America.

We are saddened by this tragedy, this loss of life, and our hearts go out to those families affected. We are going to do everything we can to stand by the scouts and to stand by these families in this time of need.

I've also learned a lot about what happened. I've talked to families that lost scouts, talked to siblings of scouts that were lost. I've talked to parents who frantically came here looking for their sons. I've talked to camp director and others. What we've learned is that there were some real heroes at the scout camp.

These young men made it into the bunker. They made it into the bunk house, and then after the tornado hit directly on the bunk house, they immediately started helping each other in this time of need. And they set up their own mini triage unit, because they are trained and that's what these young leaders have learned how to do is to take care of each other, especially those in need.

And they were the real heroes, these young men. These camp directors and these youth counselors and others that literally saved lives during this time period when emergency management could not get to them for a lot of reasons.

We moved in one blessing in all this, as I -- our team, including Commissioner Meyer and General Dardis of the National Guard and I were at the Iowa Emergency Operations Center monitoring the flooding going on statewide. We have 54 counties in Iowa under a state-declared disaster.

When the tornado touched down at roughly 6:45 p.m., we were all in the Emergency Operations Center. And we immediately put every ounce of energy and effort into getting the resources here so that we could try to recover and respond.

I cannot thank enough the local officials, the Monona County sheriff, the Harrison County sheriff. We had officials from more than a dozen communities that were on the scene as quickly as humanly possible. And they also are heroes in all this and deserve enormous credit. Our neighbors from Nebraska, their fire and rescue and police emergency management -- it was unbelievable. And what these EMS people had to deal with -- this is a very remote site, 1,800 acres, about a mile off any main road. And the devastation of the tornado meant that you had hundreds of trees, many of them down.

So it was tough to -- we had to -- the emergency responders had to cut through, literally, trees to get to these young men.

And so while these heroes, while these scouts were taking care of each other, you also had great response from everyone to the Iowa National Guard, Life Flights from various hospitals, and the men and women on the ground trying to do everything they could to respond.

And I feel very good about that coordinated effort between the state, local, and our friends especially in Nebraska.

Finally, public safety is our top priority. And as we work through and fight through this challenge in Iowa, we will continue to do everything we can to try to save lives. And we will get through this. Iowans are resilient, the Boy Scouts are resilient.

The officials involved in this are saddened and certainly a blow right to the gut but we're going to fight. We're going to be with these families. We're going to respond and we're going to recover together.

With that I'd like to introduce my friend, the governor of Nebraska, Governor Heineman.

GOV. DAVE HEINEMAN, NEBRASKA: Governor, thank you very much. I'd like to say a couple of things if I could.

First of all, like Governor Culver, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, not only those injured, but those four families who lost a young 13, 14-year-old boy. That's very, very difficult and we're all saddened by what occurred.

Secondly, I want to express to Governor Culver and all of the Iowa officials, as well as Nebraskans that came to help, they did an incredible job. Last night I was in Omaha for an event -- actually two events -- and as the sirens went off about 6:00 or whenever that was, we were driving around Omaha. We went to the state patrol joint operations center with the Department of Roads 108th and 9th.

And we monitored it there from about 6:45 until 9:00 when I returned to Lincoln, went to the capital, spent another hour there. But Governor Culver called me last night. Kept us fully informed. We were in direct contact. Our two emergency operation centers were in contact throughout the evening, early part of this day, and we cannot say thank you much enough for the cooperation and collaboration and the support that we received from the state of Iowa.

This morning I met one of those young Boy Scout heroes that Governor Culver just described -- Zach Jesson (ph) from Freemont where we live. I know the family. I'm proud of that young man. I'm proud of all these scouts for what they did. You know, they are trained to respond, and they did that last night.

Governor Culver just took me out to the site. Many of you are going to go out there in a few minutes and see it. It's devastation. It's very, very difficult to look at. You see that bunk house, and in some ways it's amazing we didn't lose more lives than we did.

But those young scout leaders, the adults who were there, they responded in true Boy Scout fashion. And I think we need to recognize them for what they did.

We're here to support however we can. I've offered the state of Nebraska's assistance in whatever may -- in whatever appropriate manner we can assist with. We'll remain here this morning until Secretary Chertoff arrives. I hope to visit the Mid-America Council headquarters later this afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I could, I would like to invite a representative from the Mid-America scouts to come forward and share a few thoughts with you and then we'll give you information about how we can get you access to these -- to the facilitate or the site.

LLOYD ROITSTEIN, BOY SCOUTS OF MID-AMERICA COUNCIL: Good morning. I'm Lloyd Roitstein. I'm the executive director of the Mid- America Council covers 58 counties in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. And I want you to know that those of you who are scouts as a youth, the boy scout motto is "be prepared."

And last night the agencies and the scouts were prepared. And we're all proud of them. The way those agencies came into that scout camp, the way hundreds of volunteers came in, and the way the scouts helped each other and saved our rangers' lives was remarkable.

This session out there is called Pahuk Pride. It is a youth leader training course. And the best young future leaders of the Boy Scouts are invited to attend this training session to learn how to be prepared, to learn how to be better leaders in the future, and take that back to their scout troops all over Iowa, and Nebraska, and South Dakota, to make sure things -- emergencies like this are solved and the Boy Scouts do everything they do to make things better.

And last night it sure happened. The day before the tornado hit, they had emergency training. They knew what to do. They knew where to go. And they performed well. And we had excellent leadership out there. We had 24 staff out there, youth and adults, and these scouts are going to be the future leaders of our community, and we are so proud of them and what they did to make our terrible situation better and save many lives.

So scouting teaches these young men to be better for the future. And we're very proud of them and we're proud of our relationship that we have in a community to see that many volunteers from all over, agencies and other volunteers, come out to support the scouting program and support these young people.

Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have an opportunity for maybe half a dozen questions is all. We've got a very short window by which we're going to be able to relay you folks out there to see the site before our 11:00 briefing.

So with that we'll entertain about a half a dozen questions before we get into how we're going to choreograph the staging and get you out to the site and then back here in time for the 11:00 briefing.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was there any thought of moving those boys out of that camp before that thunderstorm struck as we knew that it was moving in from Nebraska?

ROITSTEIN: That's a high adventure camp, 1,800 acres. They are trained to make sure that everything is handled well in those types of emergencies. They go camping every single month. And there's always some type of storm watches. And they knew the forecast. They had a weather radio there. They were prepared for it.

And there's no way -- first of all, their parents dropped them off. There's no way to get them out of there that quick. And they were prepared and knew what to do and handled it very well.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Tell us about those boys. Can you give us a description of each of them, a brief one?

ROITSTEIN: Sure. The average age is 13 to 17. Again, these are the leaders that were selected by their scout masters all over the community that they had potential to be leaders in the future. And this training session for a week. They got their last Sunday and were supposed to go home Saturday.

A week of training of how to become better leaders and to bring back that leadership -- those leadership skills to other younger scouts.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I mean the boys who were lost. Can you tell us something about them?

ROITSTEIN: I do not know them personally.

Dr. Baldwin, is there anything you want to say or not?

Dr. Baldwin was our course director out there, a volunteer. There were, again, over 100 scouts out there, staff and youth, and from all over. So...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: These are the best of the best of the...

ROITSTEIN: Yes, they are. Cream of the crop, definitely.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have a chance yet to speak with the families? (INAUDIBLE) yet? Have either of you governors had a chance to speak with families of those victims yet?

CULVER: Yes. I was able to speak to two of the families that lost young men here. And I know that the governor is anxious. We're working on connecting him with the families as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Two more questions.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have all the parents been reunited with their kids?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they have. One more question?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What happens with the kids who have survived? We're hearing they are heroes, but this is going to sink in. How are you prepared to help them deal with the gruesome scene that they saw, their friends dead there on the scene, and the injured ones? How do you help them get by now?

ROITSTEIN: We've already set into motion a plan for grief counseling. We have some great community resources. We're getting calls and making calls and the Boy Scouts of America have flown in from their national office and helping us get organized.

These young men are from 58 different counties, and -- but we're setting that up and we will make sure that not only the scouts but the families and the leaders back home who sent these young men out there to be trained, they are going to need make support, too. And we will be there instantly to work with them and make sure that everything is OK in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We also had a contingent of...

COLLINS: Lloyd Roitstein there, the Boy Scouts of Mid-America Council president. Also heard from the Iowa governor Chet Culver and Nebraska governor Dave Heineman, talking about how these boys were just plain the best of the best and they were there. They were trained, they had been there before.

The bad news in all of that is, according to some of our accounts, they really only had 12 minutes of notice before they could get to safety. Not a lot of time in a place like that. Because of that, there were four deaths in this tornado that hit Little Sioux Boy Scout camp.

And just moments ago they made the announcement of who those young boys were.


GENE MEYER, IOWA PUBLIC SAFETY COMM.: Certainly our prayers are with these injured young people. But our deepest sorrow and sympathy goes to the four young scouts who lost their lives last night.

Three of these young men are from Omaha, Nebraska. Josh Fennen, age 13, Sam Thomsen, age 13, and Ben Petrzilka, age 14. One Iowa young man from Eagle Grove, Iowa, Aaron Eilerts, age 14, lost his life.



COLLINS: The deadly tornadoes tear across the Midwest hitting a Boy Scout camp in Iowa and several towns in Kansas. A twister slammed into the Little Sioux Scout Ranch killing four people and injuring others. Boy Scout official says three of the victims were scouts, one was a youth counselors. They were 13 and 14 years old.

Tornadoes also touched down in Kansas killing at least two people. Dozens of homes in Chapman, Kansas were destroyed. Storms also damaged several buildings at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Reynolds Wolf is in the severe weather center for us today with more on these tornadoes. And the bad news, last time we talked, was that probably not done yet.


COLLINS: All right. Well, Reynolds, we appreciate it. We'll check back with you a little bit later on. A lot going on in the weather department today including this.

Tornadoes also kind of a deadly path across the State of Kansas. Emergency officials say one person was killed in Soldier, Kansas, about 50 miles north of Topeka. Another person was killed in Chapman. Storm destroyed about 60 homes in Kansas. Another 60 homes were damaged. We are also hearing reports that dozens of people were injured by these storms in the state.

Manhattan, Kansas, in particular, hit hard. Classes, in fact, have been canceled today at Kansas State University. Dozens of buildings on campus were damaged. And more now on those deadly tornadoes in Kansas.

Sharon Watson with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management is on the phone with us from Topeka.

Sharon, tell us the situation overall.

VOICE OF SHARON WATSON, KANSAS DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Right now we have two fatalities as you mentioned. And we are in the process -- our priority is search and rescue at these locations that were hardest hit. Dickinson County, the town of Chapman appears to have taken the brunt of the storm and to be the hardest hit area of all of those hit last night.

Reilly County, Manhattan, and where K State is that area was also hit. But not this serious level of injuries that we're seeing elsewhere. In Chapman, we have the local officials are being assisted by the state with additional resources including the Kansas National Guard, which is brought in a generator and also is there for security.

And we have other state resources that have gone in overnight to help them with communications. And search and rescue is in full force this morning as more teams are being brought in. A dog search-and- rescue team is also coming in from Topeka. COLLINS: So is it obvious that you're talking about missing people?

WATSON: It's a possibility at this point. It's so difficult to account for everyone in these types of situations. And so as some people go to shelters, others stay in their homes. Others may not be exactly known where somebody might have been last night. So it's just a really difficult process and the task of the search-and-rescue team is to ensure that there's nobody left behind in that wreckage.

We also have capabilities through our Kansas highway patrol aircraft with infrared capabilities to be able to see if someone might be trapped in something on the ground underneath some building of brick or something to that degree.

COLLINS: Yes. And we should let people know that unfortunately it does take some time. What is it? About 20 minutes to 9:00 where you are.

How long typically does it take for those missing reports to come in? I mean, I'm sure that family members are on guard for all of their loved ones.

WATSON: Absolutely. It can take some time, unfortunately, for the search and rescue process, especially when you're talking about a significant area that's been hit. So going through with dogs and the teams at a slow pace, making sure they are not hearing anything, making sure they are getting every area, it can certainly take several hours to do that, if not, a couple days.

And so the process will just have to carry out as long as it takes to be sure that we have every area covered and the local officials are confident and comfortable with where things stand before they end the search and rescue and allow people back into town.

COLLINS: Right. It's always so hard when you have one of these nighttime tornadoes. Very difficult.

Any warnings, Sharon?

WATSON: There have been warnings in each of the situations. No indication that sirens did not work. Of course some people had more warnings than others, depending on which county they were in. But unfortunately two people did get killed in this.

COLLINS: Yes. All right. Well, we appreciate your reporting on that for us this morning. Sharon Watson with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. We will keep our eye on this story and keep you posted on the day's search and rescue efforts there.

Meanwhile, locked down on the upper Mississippi River. After days of widespread flooding, starting today, commercial shipping is banned along the river in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. The river is expected to be closed for two weeks. One Iowa-based barge line estimates his company will lose about $40,000 a day because of the shutdown. The bloated waters are plaguing farm-rich areas of the Midwest including Wisconsin.

CNN's Susan Roesgen is on a soggy farm in East Bristol, Wisconsin that's just outside of Madison.

Susan, this is like the third day we've seen you standing in a bunch of muck.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's true, Heidi. Even a city slicker like me can see that this is not good. This is an underwater soybean field. The woman who owns this farm planted 50 acres of soy beans, Heidi. And she says only about two or three acres are left.

We also talked to a farmer down the road in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. He planted both soy beans and corn. He's lost about a quarter of his entire crop. And he says the weather has been so bad that even the plants that are not underwater are still dying.


JERRY BRADLEY, FARMER: These are nice, green plant. They look healthy and everything. They are not stunted. But as you've walk out there, as you can see that the green turns a little more to yellow.

So as you see, the yellow is, that means the plant is stunted and need some sunshine. No different than in your garden. As you see plants turning yellow in your garden, you know they need sunshine. Corn and soy beans are the same way.


ROESGEN: Now, Heidi, I'm standing here like a scarecrow basically, because the mud is so deep. It's kind of hard to get my boots out. And if it's hard to walk around in this field, then you see the other problem. This ground is so saturated, is so soft that it can't hold the weight of a tractor. And so the farmers are saying that -- look, they would like to at least try to get into some of the areas that aren't as water logged and try to start at least spraying the weeds but they can't do it, Heidi, because they cannot get the tractors in the fields.

It's really bad. Millions of dollars of crops have been lost. And 99 percent of the farms in Wisconsin are family-owned. So these are people who are just trying to make it from year to year. And it's really tough this year.

COLLINS: Yes, no question about when you talk about millions of dollars being lost. I mean, those losses have to be passed on in customers.

ROESGEN: Yes. I think you and I are going to pay for it in the grocery store in the fall, Heidi. Whether you're talking about corn flakes from the corn crop or pig feed from the corn crop or soy latte that you get at Starbucks. These are all going to cost more. Already, the price of corn per bushel is at a record high $7.56. The price of soy bean oil which is used in biofuels, it's also at a record. So the farmers are going to get some record high prices but only for the little amount of crop they had been able to harvest. And you will pay for it and I will pay for it at the grocery store.

COLLINS: Yes. It's just a shame all around. All right. Appreciate that. CNN's Susan Roesgen for us this morning, East Bristol, Wisconsin.

I want to get you some of these live pictures that we are getting in now from our affiliate. This is Bonny Doon, California. KGO bringing us these pictures of this wildfire. About 100 firefighters, I understand, are trying to beat this thing down.

Santa Cruz Mountains, about 1500 people had to be evacuated from their homes in the night. We've been talking about these weather situations and how much more complicated, difficult and just flat-out frightening it can be in the middle of the night when fire comes through or tornado or whatever the case may be.

Once again, this thing started yesterday afternoon but really moved quickly, about 900 acres that's scorched right off the bat. Fire officials are saying they actually have no idea when they're going to be able to contain this. So we'll keep our eye on these lives pictures for you as well. Once again out of California.

Tornado trauma, scouts on stretchers, medics in disaster mode. What types of injuries are involved? We're going to take a look. We're watching this story online as well. One of the local Web sites reporting, we'll take a look.



UNIDENTIFIED BOY SCOUT: Actually, I was inside it. Well, I was getting knocked around. I had dirt flying everywhere. I had rain soaking me and it was just pure white. And it was just massive swirling thing. Until the tornado passed, it was just basically howling wind. You couldn't hear -- nothing. You were getting pelted with dirt, rain, rocks, flying debris, pieces of the shelter that were swirling around. It was pretty bad.

BEN KARSCHNER, BOY SCOUT: It was like just like a pounding sensation on your back. It wasn't like blowing around, it was just going straight on and not stopping.


COLLINS: It breaks your heart, doesn't it? Some firsthand accounts from the Boy Scouts there at Little Sioux Boy Scout Ranch in Iowa, where that tornado came through overnight and killed four young boys.

Mercy Medical Center is in disaster mode this morning handling some of these injuries. And we want to know how all of that is going.

Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has been following that portion of the story and joins us now.

This is a facility that is used to this type of injury. And they are on alert.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. It is a major medical center and several of the injured were taken by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center. And let's take a look at the big picture of the number of injured here. We're talking about 48 people injured taken to several different medical centers. Some of them helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City.

COLLINS: That's where the worst of the injury are going there.

COHEN: Some of the worst ones definitely what they are now. Luckily, I'm glad to say that of these 48 injured about half have been treated and released. These hospitals have seen everything from minor injuries to skull fractures to a pelvis fracture, a spinal injury to a dislocated hip.

I mean, it is just -- you can only even try to imagine what some of these Boy Scouts have been through. And actually, let's take a listen to a Boy Scout leader who talked about what he did when that tornado struck.


THOMAS WHITE, BOY SCOUT TROOP LEADER: I laid in the ditch and the tornado went right over the top of me. And then I ran back to this other shelter where there were like 50 other kids and made sure they were all right.

I got a hold of a walkie-talkie and I was able to radio the camp, like doctor, and I asked him what I needed to do. So I -- so he said just come and get a first aid kit and then go up to the north valley because there's lots of people hurt. And that's what I did. I just booked it.


COHEN: Now one Boy Scout said it only lasted eight seconds, this tornado, but it was the longest eight seconds of his life.

And Heidi, we expect to be hearing more scenes from doctors. So we'll come back and tell you exactly what doctors say they are seeing on the ground.

COLLINS: OK, because obviously if they are at Mercy Medical Center, there are some serious injuries, we just don't know the extent of them right now.

COHEN: We should know some more details soon enough.

COLLINS: OK, terrific. All right, Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate that.

Meanwhile, Josh Levs, has been watching the story online and what some of the local affiliates are reporting. He joins us now.

I imagine, there's quite a bit of information out there. A lot of people going to the web to find out the most current information.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. I mean, you see something like this. People go flocking to the Internet. They want to get the latest all day long. They want to find out about casualties and about how they can help.

So I want to trace you all through right now some of the most important sites to take a look at right now.

First off, I'm going to tell you. We've been following the Boy Scout Web sites this morning. So far there's not a place to get the latest. As you can imagine, Boy Scouts have other things to focus on right now. I will show you the one message that's out from the Boy Scouts.

That's right here from the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts. They are saying, "We appreciate your thoughts and prayers during this time." They are saying if you're not a family member, please do not call the center, that's been providing some information. Obviously, they are getting flooded.

I want to take you now to KETV's web site. Because, Heidi, what we're going to have here -- a lot of stories of heroism, which is another part of what happened here. This is our affiliate KETV following this story.

Look at this. Scouts acted as rescuers. Many of the 13- to 17- year-old campers immediately started applying their rescue skills after this hit. A group of three boys broke into a storage shed, took an ATV and a chain saw, and headed to the area of the camp hardest-hit to start freeing trapped campers.


LEVS: I want to show you one more graph, because this stuff is amazing. Look at this. One group of boys went straight to a ranger home on the campgrounds to rescue his family from the remains of their home, which was demolished.

I mean, these kids are way too young to have to be heroes. That is what's happened in this storm. Now this is a CNN story. Obviously, it's our top story now -- will be throughout the day. We're going to keep following all the details.

If we get some fresh photos, we're going to keep posting them right here. There you can see some students being brought in to gather at a local high school where they were taken. You can also see if I can get there. There you go.

Families gathering together, holding each other. This new photos coming in throughout the day. We will bring it in. And I want to show you one graph from our story as well. This is from someone who spoke to AMERICAN MORNING this morning.

"I was standing up, trying to pull bricks off the kids that were sitting there. Then I couldn't do anymore because my hip and leg were hurting so badly." This is from a 15-year-old. We're hearing from more and more of them throughout the day. Again, this is our top story here at CNN.

And Heidi, we'll keep following this throughout the day. We will be the place that has the latest details as they become available. And part of what we're going to follow here are these stories of heroism from 13 year olds all the way through to the grown adults who had to act quickly here.

COLLINS: Yes. You know, it's children rescuing children in this one. Those clips coming in. We just showed from Rob Logsdon. He is a 15-year-old scout.

LEVS: That's right.

COLLINS: And he was in charged of eight kids at the time trying to keep them calm.

All right, Josh, we sure do appreciate it. We're going to have more firsthand accounts, coming up in the Little Sioux Scout Ranch tornado, coming up in just a few minutes here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Tragedy overnight in Iowa. Four boy scouts were killed at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch. We are going to have more survivor stories, stories of heroism from very young men coming your way here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Quickly, some more breaking news by way of weather. That is certainly the story we are following this morning. We want to get directly over to Reynolds Wolf with the very latest.

Hey, there, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Heidi. It is another day and another chance of strong storms across parts of the Midwest and the western Great Lakes. You can see right behind me the same components that we've been dealing with over the past couple of days.

All the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. The frontal boundaries across land. And it looks like we could be seeing some of the same areas that have been struck by tornadoes and some of the same areas that have been inundated with floodwaters could get another round of tornadoes and possibly heavy rain including the areas of Milwaukee and Chicago.

We're going to show you how this is going to unfold to the rest of the day and possibly into the weekend, too. That's only moments away.

COLLINS: Boy. So not we want to hear, but glad that you're on top of it for us. Reynolds, thanks so much. Let us know if we need to come back to you.

Meanwhile, good morning once again, everybody, I'm Heidi Collins. Tony Harris is off today. You'll stay informed all day right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Topping our rundown, severe weather. Boy scouts shelter, no match for a tornado.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It came in and it ripped all the doors wide open. And some of the windows broke. My ears popped real bad. And next thing I know after my ears popped, the walls of the roof of the shelter were just gone like just a snap of the fingers, it was gone.


COLLINS: Also gone, four fellow scouts. Twisters, deadly in Kansas as well. And the danger not over for the Midwest today. More tornadoes could strike there. We'll follow it from our weather center, today, Thursday, June 12th you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Weather the major news story this morning. Deadly tornadoes on top of the devastating floods in the Midwest. Here is what we know right now about the deadly tornadoes.

One storm slammed into the Little Sioux Scout Ranch killing four people and injuring 48 others in Iowa. Boy Scout officials say the four victims were teenagers ages 13 and 14. Three were scouts, one was a youth counselor.