Tornado Outbreak USA Midwest Tornado Outbreak USA Midwest
Nov. 17, 2013 A large tornado touched down outside Peoria, Washington, Illinois, southwest of Chicago.
Chicago Soldier Field fans were instructed to clear the stadium, game temporarily suspended.
At tornado hit Washington and Pekin.
Chicago area, Midwest nasty weather, tornadoes
Intense thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across a number of Midwestern states Sunday, causing damage in a number of communities in central Illinois and sending people into their basements for shelter and even prompting officials at Soldier Field to postpone a Bears game and clear the stadium and field.
Amid reports of property damage in the small central Illinois community of Washington, the storm raced through downtown Chicago so powerfully that the rain was not falling as much as it was slamming into the sides of buildings. There were no confirmed reports of injuries.
Powerful tornadoes have swept through the US Midwest, destroying buildings and overturning vehicles in the states of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
At least 6 people were killed, all in Illinois, and it is feared that several hundred people may have been injured in the fast-moving storms.
A number of people are feared trapped inside buildings.
Forecasters said people in 10 states had been at risk. Hailstones the size of tennis balls have been reported.
The storm was so fast-moving - with winds of up to 111km/h (68mph) - that weather services issued warnings for people not to wait until they saw the weather change.
November is ordinarily one of the quietest months in the tornado calendar.
6 killed as tornadoes hit Illinois
November 18, 2013 are and violent autumn storms ripped across Illinois on Sunday, spinning off tornadoes before slamming into Chicago with punishing rain and wind.
As heavy gusts toppled trees and power lines and downpours swamped city streets, tens of thousands of Bears fans were evacuated from their Soldier Field seats and forced to take cover inside or huddle behind the historic stone colonnades.
Earlier, in southern Illinois, severe weather decimated farms, killing at least five people, including an elderly brother and sister, when a tornado barreled through their house. Farther north, near Peoria, a tornado flattened large swaths of Washington, killing at least one person and sending about 50 others to local hospitals.
As night fell and temperatures dropped, emergency workers were still searching debris fields that had once been neighborhoods and the homeless were seeking temporary shelter.
Meteorologists had predicted the violent storms days ahead of time, anticipating volatile atmospheric conditions that are freakish for a season when tornadoes are a relative rarity. “Weather doesn't get more extreme than this in Illinois very often,” said Matt Friedlein, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
The storms exploded over Illinois when gusting winter jet streams from the northwest collided with the unusually warm and moist air that had arrived Saturday.
“You've got wintertime winds in the atmosphere above summertime moisture,” Friedlein said. “While unusual, when that happens, you're going to have very strong storms that move very quickly.”
At Soldier Field, Bears fans scattered for cover under roiling skies as the game was postponed because of the threat of lightning. Though rains and high winds battered the city, temporarily closing some streets, officials received no reports of weather-related injuries, said Melissa Stratton, spokeswoman with the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
How Rare was the November Midwest Tornado Outbreak?
In the wake of the deadly Midwest tornado outbreak on Sunday, many people are wondering how rare tornadoes are during November.
The short answer is that tornadoes can occur in the Midwest during any month of the year. However, the number of tornadoes diminishes substantially during the cold-weather months.
There is a secondary severe weather season that occurs during October and November, which favors the Deep South.
While rare, tornadoes reaching as far north as the Midwest and mid-Atlantic are not unheard of during November.
Deadly Storms Hit Midwest; Tornadoes Slam Illinois, Indiana (State-by-State Updates)
First F4 tornado in November in Illinois
More footage of damage
State-By-State Look at Midwest Tornado Outbreak
Nov. 20, 2013 Entire blocks were leveled by EF4 tornado in Washington, IL
Since 1986, there have been 194 tornado warnings issued in the month of November in Illinois: More than half of them, 101, were issued Sunday, Nov 17, 2013.
A tornado outbreak in the Midwest on Sunday leveled entire city blocks and tore a path of destruction across 12 states. It was an unusually large and strong storm system for November and it will take months to clean up the damage.
One of the worst-hit areas was Washington, a town of 16,000 about 140 miles southwest of Chicago. Entire blocks were leveled as a confirmed EF4 tornado cut a path about an eighth of a mile wide from one side of town to the other.
250 and 500 homes destroyed in Washington, Ill., according to the mayor.
A preliminary rating of EF4 has been given to the tornado that hit New Minden, Ill. (170-190 mph)
A preliminary EF4 tornado hit Washington, Ill. (166-200 mph)
A preliminary EF2 tornado hit near Coal City, Ill. (111-135 mph)
A slew of tornadoes in Indiana, with at least six twisters rated EF2 or stronger
At least two tornadoes confirmed in far northern Tennessee
EF0 tornado confirmed in Otsego County, Mich. (65-75 mph); northernmost tornado this late in the year for the state
EF1 tornado in Butler County, Ky. (105 mph max.)
Several other tornadoes were confirmed northeast of Washington, according to the National Weather Service.
Throughout the region, at least 67 tornadoes had been reported as of 10:15 p.m. Sunday, the National Weather Service said.
Comparison Obama hatred of Israel vs Gods judgment on USA via tornadoes
Residents of tornado-hit Midwest city regroup amid looting
WASHINGTON, Illinois (Reuters) - Residents of a central Illinois city hit by a powerful tornado worked feverishly on Tuesday to salvage belongings from the rubble of their homes, as an over-burdened police force tried to stop looting.
Authorities doubled to 1,000 their estimate of homes damaged or destroyed in the fast-moving storm that hit Washington, a town of 15,000 located 145 miles southwest of Chicago, on Sunday. Winds reached up to 200 miles per hour (322 km per hour), and many houses were reduced to piles of sticks.
The storm system triggered multiple tornadoes on Sunday in the Midwestern United States, killing at least six people in Illinois and two in Michigan. The cost of damage is estimated at $1 billion.
Roads in and out of Washington were clogged on Tuesday with pickup trucks, which residents filled with whatever they could find that was salvageable. The sound of chainsaws cutting through fallen trees could be heard everywhere. Incidents of looting, and the threat of rain on Wednesday, added urgency to the task.
Homeowner Ken Dunston said a truck had pulled up outside his home and made off with a pile of his furniture.
"They're stealing everything they can," said Dunston. "The next time they come through here I'll grab hold of them and call the police."
Washington police department commander Greg Gordon said looters are posing a huge challenge for the local force, which has been augmented by officers from nearby Peoria and state police.
REBUILDING AFTER DISASTER
Diana Wara, 50, a professional cook, was trying to get her recipes off the hard drive of her crushed computer. All that remained of her two-story home was its foundation. Her family's four cars were destroyed, she said.
"My whole life is on that computer," she said, struggling to hold back tears. "We're all just lucky to be alive and we're going to rebuild."
She has already talked to a builder, but in the meantime, her insurance company has put up her family in an apartment, she said.
Mike Bochart, 40, was in church when the storm hit, so he and his family stayed safe, while half of his home was destroyed. He was removing what he could on Tuesday.
"Everyone has been pitching in to help, this is a good town," Bochart said. "It's going to be a long road, but we will rebuild."
Early estimates suggest that the property damage caused by the storm could reach $1 billion, with the greatest toll in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri, according to Risk Management Solutions, a Newark, California-based company that specializes in assessing the toll of storms and other disasters.
November tornado outbreaks are relatively rare this far north - they are seen only about once every 10 years in this part of the Midwest, according to Greg Carbin, meteorologist for the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.
Rebuilding from a November storm, as opposed to a spring storm, poses different challenges, according to Terry Ruhland, spokesman for the Homebuilders Association of Greater Peoria.
One problem is that foundations that are solid now may suffer damage from winter weather while homeowners wait for construction to begin, so foundations will need to be protected, Ruhland said.
"Do I think people will step up to the plate and make historic efforts? Absolutely," Ruhland said. "But it will be very challenging due to the devastation, the weather conditions, and the volume of work needing to be done."
Washington Mayor Gary Manier asked volunteers to stay away for now to let people into their homes. But the town will need help going forward.
"We're going to be here for quite a while and we're going to need assistance," Manier said. "So please don't forget about us." He said the town has had offers of help from as far off as Italy and the Philippines, where residents are struggling to recover from their own natural disaster, Typhoon Haiyan, which authorities estimate killed more than 3,900 people after roaring ashore on November 8.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has declared 13 counties disaster areas.
Of the six people killed in Illinois, authorities said one died in Washington and three in Brookport on the Kentucky border, where a tornado with winds up to 145 mph destroyed dozens of mobile homes and damaged dozens of houses, garages, storage buildings, businesses and other structures.
Two men died in Michigan in storm-related incidents.
Tornadoes also caused major damage in Indiana and lesser damage in Ohio, according to the National Weather Service.
(Additional reporting by Scott Malone in Boston and Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Writing by Mary Wisnieski; Editing by W Simon, Maureen Bavdek, Marguerita Choy and Gunna Dickson)