Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

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

Franklin County EMA assisting Central Illinois with tornado recovery efforts Surprise Tornado Blitz Strikes Central Illinois, Injuring at Least 30
Theresa Hayes | 06 December, 2018, 09:11

Central Illinois is coping with damages and injuries after a blitz of tornadoes Saturday, when 22 twisters were reported to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service says the actual number of tornadoes that touched down will be confirmed in the coming days. If the majority are confirmed, that would be the most tornadoes in IL in a December storm since Dec. 18-19, 1957, when there were 21. If most are confirmed as tornadoes, Miller said that would be the most tornadoes in IL in a December storm since Dec. 18-19, 1957, when there were 21.

The central IL town of Taylorville, located southeast of Springfield in Christian County, was the community hardest hit by Saturday's tornadoes. Around 30 people were injured, at least 21 were sent to the hospital with few suffering from critical head injuries, but there were no deaths. Majority were discharged within hours of their arrival.

To put Saturday night's storms into perspective, just 14 tornadoes total have been reported in the central part of IL between 1950 and 2017, according to Miller. Preliminary estimates indicate that storm may have produced winds of up to 130 mph (209 kilometres per hour). About 10 minutes later, a second weaker tornado was confirmed less than 10 miles (16 kilometres) away near the town of Rudy, Arkansas.

At least three tornadoes were confirmed in northwest and southwest Arkansas, which largely caused property and structural damage. No reports of fatalities have been recorded in IL, although one person has been killed in neighbouring Missouri as a result of the storms. He said at least 100 homes had major damage, including his own.

"It was one of those storms that just blew up", Christian County sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp told reporters on Saturday.