8 dead, dozens injured in Midwest tornado outbreak
Dark clouds form over central Illinois. (Source: CNN)
Damaged homes in Pekin, IL. (Source: CNN)
A tornado made landfall near Mr. Vernon IL. (Source: KFVS)
Damage out of Washington, IL. (Source: CNN)
A tornado damaged homes in Pekin, IL. (Source: CNN)
(RNN) - Eight deaths have been confirmed after a rash of storms hammered the upper Midwest Sunday. The system produced dozens of tornadoes in eight states.
Illinois caught the worst of the severe weather system with major tornadoes touching down in the state.
Among the six who died in Illinois, two storm-related deaths were confirmed in Michigan, according to the Associated Press.
In addition to those killed, 37 more were injured, several critically, according to Jonathon Monken, the director of the Illinois EMA. He expects that number to rise.
According to CNN, 68 tornadoes were reported, leaving impassible roads, widespread power outages and blocks of homes stripped bare.
AP reported that two of the dead were an elderly man and his sister, whose farmhouse in Minden, IL, was hit by a powerful EF-4 tornado, with winds of 166 to 200 mph.
"I don't know if they made it to the basement or not," an emotional Minden Mayor Candi Cross said of the two who died. She said other people in her community of 250 who had lost their homes have places to stay Sunday night because residents opened their homes to neighbors.
Seventy homes in Washington, IL, have been destroyed, hundreds more have been damaged and rescue operations are underway, Monken said. One person died in this town of 10,000, which is located near Peoria in central Illinois. Others with critical injuries have been taken to a hospital in Peoria.
"It was complete destruction," said Washington, IL, resident Anthony Khoury, an iReporter for CNN. "There are people in the streets crying."
Jim Ardis, the mayor of nearby Peoria, said the tornado hit a "densely populated" area in Washington, and his city will send aid to help recovery efforts.
Pekin, IL, about 30 miles from Washington, IL, took a less severe hit, with roofs blown off houses and downed power lines and trees.
Two more deaths have been confirmed in Massac County in extreme southern Illinois, near Paducah, KY. Paducah suffered damage to houses and a church, but no injuries were reported Sunday night. KFVS reported a third death in the area late Sunday night, citing Illinois State Police.
Search and rescue efforts remain active, according to police during a press conference in Brookport, IL. That city is also under a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew to keep people off of roadways so that they won't encounter the widespread storm debris.
Twenty-six states began the day under National Weather Service warnings for severe weather. As the day wore on and the system raced along at 60 to 70 mph, damage reports poured in from across the country.
A mall, a fire station, a car dealership, a bank and multiple homes in Kokomo, IN, were damaged by an apparent tornado, said Larry Smith, an Indiana EMA official. The mall was evacuated before the storm hit, and only minor injuries have been reported, he said. Officials reported thousands of people are without power in Kokomo, according to CNN. School has been canceled there Monday, and the city declared a state of emergency following the tornado hits.
Cars were flipped in Indianapolis, which saw wind gusts of up to 80 mph.
WFIE in Evansville, IN, reported heavy damage in Union County, KY.
Severe weather in the Chicago area forced officials to postpone the Bears-Ravens game for two hours while fans took shelter in the stadium concourses. The game resumed after storms cleared the area.
The National Weather Service called the weather system "particularly dangerous," which is the highest tier of warning it issues. More than 19 million people lived in the area under the greatest threat.
Such extreme weather is unusual for this time of year, but the temperatures were unseasonably warm in the area, the NWS said.
On Nov. 6, 2005, a strong EF-3 tornado killed 26 people around Evansville, IN. It also hit a horse-racing track in Kentucky and killed horses. As a result, new laws were enacted for trailer park safety.
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