February 19, 2019

Tornadoes rip through Midwest, killing 1 and damaging hundreds of homes

06 December 2018, 08:15 | Dale Webster

Surprise Tornado Blitz Strikes Central Illinois, Injuring at Least 30

Franklin County EMA assisting Central Illinois with tornado recovery efforts

There were 22 tornadoes reported to the National Weather Service on Saturday, all in central IL.

A wind gust of 75 miles per hour was recorded at 5:30 Springfield, breaking the last windspeed record for December set in 1972, the weather service said.

At least three tornadoes were confirmed in northwest and southwest Arkansas, which largely caused property and structural damage.

Illinois' previous December tornado record was 21 storms during an outbreak on Dec. 18-19, 1957. But at least 23 tornado touchdowns on Saturday have been confirmed in Illinois, said Dan Smith, a meteorologist with the weather service's Lincoln, Illinois, office.

The central IL town of Taylorville, located southeast of Springfield in Christian County, was the community hardest hit by Saturday's tornadoes. That year, 25 tornados tore through Southern Illinois and parts of Missouri, killing 17 people and injuring 273 more.

The Latest on tornadoes in parts of the central U.S. "It all goes out to the folks right here in our community".

Assistant Fire Chief Andy Goodall spoke to reporters Saturday night after the storms raked the city of 11,000.

It remains unclear how many tornadoes blew through the region, but it won't be as many as 22, Miller said. The tornado was rated an EF2, which indicates wind speeds as high as 135 miles per hour. It could take several more days to know for sure. Tornadoes were also reported in Arkansas and Oklahoma. It was rated an EF2. One death was reported in southwest Missouri early Saturday after thunderstorms there.

Over 100 homes and businesses were damaged by tornadoes that touched down in Taylorville, according to Christian County Emergency Management. Its path was intermittent and mostly caused damage to trees and some structures.

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