News Column

Tornadoes Plow Through Illinois, Indiana

November 19, 2013

Chicago Tribune

At least 14 tornadoes tore through Illinois and Indiana on Sunday (file photo)

Nov. 19--After spending a day in the field, meteorologists for the National Weather Service have determined that at least 14 tornadoes struck Illinois and northwest Indiana on Sunday, as Gov. Pat Quinn declared six more counties as state disaster areas, including Will.

The weather service determined that three EF-2 tornadoes, packing winds of 111 to 135 mph, hit Coal City, Diamond, Manhattan and Frankfort. The hardest hit was Coal City and Diamond, where top winds were estimated at 122 mph.

Four weaker EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes, with winds topping at 110 mph, struck areas from southeast Iroquois County to near Rensselaer, Ind.

The strongest of the tornadoes to hit Illinois slammed into the town of Washington near Peoria, where one person was killed, 120 others injured and as many as 500 homes damaged. The tornado was rated an EF-4, one shy of the strongest on the charts, with winds of 190 mph and a path of destruction that stretched for more than 46 miles through Tazewell and Woodford counties, according to the weather service.

Two other tornadoes were reported in central Illinois:

--Gifford, a town of 950 east of Rantoul, was hit by an EF-3 tornado with winds of 140 mph and a path of 24 miles. Six injuries were reported.

--Pekin, a city of 34,000 near Peoria, was struck by an EF-2 tornado that packed 120 mph winds for 21/2 miles through Peoria and Tazewell counties.

Next to Washington, the hardest hit community in Illinois was Brookport, a town of 1,000 across the Ohio River from Paducah, Ky. It was struck by an EF-3 tornado with winds of 145 mph that cut a path 500 yards wide and 111/2 miles long through Massac and Pope counties.

Three people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured. Dozens of mobile homes were destroyed, many of them tossed 100 feet or more, according to the weather service. Hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted.

Three other tornadoes were reported in southern Illinois:

--An EF-2 tornado with winds of 120 mph hit St. Elmo, a town of 1,400 near Effingham. No injuries were reported there.

--Altamont, a town of 2,300 near Effingham, was hit by an EF-2 tornado with winds of 120 mph that cut 111/2 miles through Fayette and Effingham counties.

--An EF-1 tornado with winds of 100 mph that briefly touched down north of Breese, a town of 4,000 east of St. Louis. No injuries were reported.

As more information was being gathered about the scope of the tornadoes, Quinn added six more counties to the state's disaster declaration, bringing the total of 13.

The newest additions are Douglas, Jasper, Pope, Wabash, Wayne and Will. The governor declared Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, Washington and Woodford counties on Monday.

The disaster designation is aimed at making it easier for resources to reach communities. -- Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking


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Original headline: Weather service: At least 14 tornadoes hit Illinois, NW Indiana

Source: (c)2013 the Chicago Tribune

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