Tornadoes In Illinois Cause ‘Severe Damage’
By Eyder Peralta, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
A line of storms moving through the country's midsection has already produced a few damaging tornadoes and The National Weather Service predicts that major severe weather could break out as the system moves east.
"Numerous fast-moving thunderstorms, capable of producing strong tornadoes along with widespread damaging winds and large hail, will move across portions of the middle Mississippi and Ohio Valley region and the southern Great Lakes region for the remainder of today into this evening," the Weather Service reports.
In Illinois, a series of tornadoes raked the outskirts of Peoria. Washington, Ill. has so far been the hardest hit with reports of entire blocks of homes leveled.
Images show a landscape of fallen trees and homes reduced to rubble.
The Peoria Journal-Star reports that dozens are injured and the national guard and rescue teams are on the scene. Jonathon E. Monken, the director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, tells CNN that the storms have killed at least two people in his state.
The Illinois National Guard is dispatching 10 firefighters to Washington to search for survivors of a powerful tornado.
A news release by the National Guard follows reports that people were trapped in buildings after Sunday's severe weather.
Area hospitals were also trying to set up a temporary emergency medical care facility in Washington. One official in a nearby hospital says it remains unclear how many people were injured or the severity of those injuries. Steve Brewer of the Methodist Medical Center of Illinois in Peoria says a few people have come to the hospital and about 15 more had gone to another area hospital.
Alex Rusciano, of Illinois Public radio member station WCBU says the tornado that tore through Washington, destroyed entire blocks of homes.
Rusciano spoke to Susan Newton, who lives in one of the hard-hit neighborhoods.
"We have neighbors that have lost their entire home, and last night we were at a dinner party at friends of ours, and their home is gone," Newton told him. "Gone. There's nothing left."
Washington resident Michael Perdun tells The Associated Press that when he heard the sound of the tornado bearing down on his neighborhood Sunday morning he only had time to run downstairs, grab his 10-year-old daughter and crouch in the laundry room until the tornado swept through. He says when he walked up the stairs only the wall of his fireplace was standing.
A Washington alderman tells Chicago's WBBM Radio that several people were injured and hundreds of homes were damaged.
Update at 4:47 p.m. ET. 109 Tornado Warnings:
Just how large and wide has this storm system cut? Over the course of the day, the Weather Service has issued 109 tornado warnings, which should give you an idea.
U.S. Sen Dick Durbin issued a statement late Sunday afternoon, sending thoughts and prayers to all those effected.
"I am receiving regular updates from Illinois emergency officials and local leaders including those from Washington, Illinois – one of the areas that was hardest hit today," he said. "While we don’t yet know the full extent of the damage, it is clear that coordinated local, state and federal resources will be needed to rebuild. I stand ready to work with my colleagues in that effort.”
WJBC Radio reports that ISU spokesman Jay Groves says three off campus apartment buildings had minor damage. That includes one building where part of a roof came off. No one was hurt.
Bad weather took control of the Baltimore at Chicago football game. Play was stopped in the first quarter with the Ravens leading 10-0 when heavy rain and high winds hit Soldier Field. The game was suspended for almost two hours before it resumed under blue skies.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is warning Hoosiers to take cover from a dangerous line of thunderstorms packing tornadoes.
Pence says the cities of Washington in southwestern Indiana and Lebanon in central Indiana have sustained significant damage, but he doesn't have specific information yet.