Tornadoes and storms throwing around baseball-sized pieces of hail hit the US Midwest on Tuesday, killing at least two people, ruining homes and leaving thousands without electricity, according to Reuters.

One tornado struck near Ottawa, an Illinois town 50 miles southwest of Chicago, killing at least one person. Another person was killed near Perryville, a Missouri community 80 miles south of St Louis.

In Perryville the storms flipped cars over along a highway and ripped down trees and power lines, according to local media.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens wrote on Facebook: "Tough and tragic news tonight out of Perryville where there are confirmed reports of a tornado touching down."

Local news agencies in southern Illinois and eastern Missouri showed footage of emergency services clearing through destroyed homes and clearing debris from roads.

"Freaking out over tornado sirens in my basement with a 7 month old and three dogs," Kristie Foote in Jasper, Indiana, said on Twitter. "I guess we will be having a slumber party down here."

More than 14,000 households in the region had to go without electricity, according to information on power company websites.

The La Salle News Tribune said there had been power outages and serious damage to a nursing home. There were also minor injuries in the nearby village of Naplate, a fireman told the newspaper.

Illinois was declared to be in an official state of emergency by governor Bruce Rauner.

At least 23 tornadoes were sighted in the region on Tuesday night according to the National Weather Service.

Meteorologist Amy Seeley said baseball-sized hail had been carried by the storms through Ottawa and was now heading east into Indiana.