DETROIT (AP) - Officials have confirmed two storm-related deaths in Michigan, raising to eight the toll from the heavy rain, powerful winds and tornadoes that formed across the region.

The Shiawassee County sheriff's department says 59-year-old Philip Daniel Smith of Perry in central Michigan was found dead and entangled in high-voltage power wires after going outside late Sunday to investigate a noise.

Also in central Michigan, Jackson County Sheriff Steven Rand says 21-year-old Ryan Allan Rickman of Leslie died when his vehicle was crushed by a fallen tree Sunday evening.

A band of storms moved across the Midwest on Sunday, unleashing powerful winds that flattened homes and left cars, trees and belongings strewn across neighborhoods. Officials say the storms also killed six people in Illinois.

National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Krause talked with Jim Maurice on the News @ Noon show on WJON today about the strong storms.  He says there's widespread damage, especially in Illinois and Indiana.

Krause says National Weather Service officials will be assessing the damage for at least the next week or so.

Krause says the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma started talking about the storm potential on Wednesday of last week already.  Very early Sunday morning they upgraded the storm potential to a high risk level.

For the full interview with Todd Krause, click on the audio player below:

(The Associated Press provided some information for this story).