Surprise Tornado Blitz Strikes Central Illinois, Injuring at Least 30

Surprise Tornado Blitz Strikes Central Illinois, Injuring at Least 30

Central Illinois endured several tornadoes on Saturday, resulting in fascinating footage of the funnels spinning through the state. Its path was intermittent and mostly caused damage to trees and to some structures. That advanced warning gave people critical time to take cover and may have saved lives.

It remains unclear how many tornadoes blew through the region, but it won't be as many as 22, Miller said. Around 20 people were injured, but there were no deaths.

Miller said preliminary estimates are that the Taylorville tornado may have been an EF2, which indicates wind speeds as high as 135 miles per hour.

The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in eastern Oklahoma and is chasing reports of multiple other tornadoes as part of severe thunderstorms Friday night. Extensive home damage occurred here as well as a winery, and uprooted trees and downed power lines. That tornado traveled about 7 miles (11 kilometers) just past the town of Gore.

Severe thunderstorms also raked IL and Missouri on Saturday.

A brick chimney smashed through the roof a car during Saturday's tornado in Taylorville Illinois
View Slideshow A brick chimney smashed through the roof a car during Saturday's tornado in Taylorville Illinois. Brian Mackey NPR Illinois

Taylorville Fire Department Chief Mike Crews said at a press conference no one was killed, and he couldn't comment on the number of injured.

Residents in central IL on Sunday assessed the damage after rare December tornadoes, including one the day before that was a half-mile-wide, ripped roofs off homes, downed power lines and injured at least 20 people.

"There were several people who were initially trapped in their homes due to damage initially but were rescued", Crews said.

Sitting about 25 miles southeast of the state capital of Springfield, the Christian County town of Taylorville was among the hardest hit areas, with major damage to at least 100 buildings reported.

A Taylorville Memorial Hospital spokesman said 21 people, from age 9 to 97, arrived for treatment Saturday. More details will follow after the release of the NWS official report. According to data from the Tornado History Project, the last time tornadoes were reported in IL in December was in 2015 when six tornados broke out.

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