An early morning tornado flattened buildings and injured three people Saturday as thunderstorms swept across the Midwest.

Six houses and three businesses were destroyed, said Thomas Hardy, a spokesman for Gov. Jim Edgar.The twister also heavily damaged 26 houses and two apartment buildings and did minor damage to 20 to 30 other houses, Hardy said.

Authorities said there was no warning before the tornado hit the a city of 18,000 people in east-central Illinois,

The damage came as a line of thunderstorms rolled across the Midwest during the night and Saturday morning, hitting parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan and northwestern Ohio.

A tornado at Harlan, Ind., in the state's northeast corner, destroyed one mobile home and a commercial building, and tore roofs off several other buildings, Allen County authorities said.