The Latest: Weather Service confirms 9 tornadoes in Illinois

AP News
|
Posted: Jun 24, 2015 12:40 AM
The Latest: Weather Service confirms 9 tornadoes in Illinois

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The latest on the bad weather moving from the Midwest to the East Coast (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

Preliminary surveys by the National Weather Service have confirmed at least nine tornadoes touched down in northern Illinois late Monday.

A weather service report says assessments are continuing, and the number of confirmed tornadoes will likely increase.

The report says the tornadoes were caused by one long-tracked supercell thunderstorm.

The heaviest damage was in Coal City and nearby Braidwood, caused by an EF-3 twister, and at a campground in Sublette, caused by an EF-2 tornado.

The weather service says the tornado that hit Coal City had winds up to 160 mph and was the strongest in the Chicago metro area since an EF-5 twister hit Plainfield in 1990.

No deaths or life-threatening injuries have been reported, although the storms severely damaged homes and forced first responders to pull survivors from basements.

___

9:30 p.m.

Amtrak service that was shut down because of severe thunderstorms in Pennsylvania has resumed.

Amtrak says service on the Northeast Corridor was halted during the Tuesday evening rush hour but was restored a couple of hours later. It says passengers should expect residual delays.

Storms moving through central and eastern Pennsylvania downed trees and power lines. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority suspended service on all 13 regional rail lines as the storms blackened skies. Most service was restored later.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for much of southern New England. Strong thunderstorms in Connecticut caused widespread power outages.

Tornadoes hit Illinois and Michigan on Monday and early Tuesday.

___

8:20 p.m.

Train service that was shut down because of severe thunderstorms on the East Coast has mostly been resumed.

Storms moving through central and eastern Pennsylvania downed trees and power lines and halted commuter trains during Tuesday's evening rush hour in Philadelphia. Amtrak service to and from Washington, D.C., also was suspended.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority suspended service on all 13 regional rail lines as the storms blackened skies. Service was restored to all but a few lines two hours later.

Amtrak suspended its Northeast Corridor and Keystone services from Washington through Philadelphia and to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia International Airport says the storms delayed departures by about 75 minutes.

Tornadoes hit Illinois and Michigan on Monday and early Tuesday.

___

7 p.m.

Severe thunderstorms moving through central and eastern Pennsylvania have downed trees and power lines and halted trains.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority says service on regional rail lines was halted during the Tuesday evening rush hour as the rainstorms darkened skies. Amtrak service from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., has been suspended.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for parts of Chester County and severe thunderstorm and flood warnings for other areas. It warns of storms capable of producing destructive winds in excess of 70 mph.

A wind gust of 71 mph was recorded at Philadelphia International Airport.

Tornadoes hit Illinois and Michigan on Monday and early Tuesday. The National Weather Service says a tornado that swept through Coal City, Illinois, was stronger than originally estimated.

___

6:15 p.m.

Severe weather that pounded the Midwest has moved to the East Coast, where there are tornado warnings in several states.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for much of southern New England. Strong thunderstorms in Connecticut on Tuesday afternoon caused widespread power outages.

Storms moving into Philadelphia have blackened the sky. Storms north of the city in Hazelton have broken off tree branches.

Several people have been treated for heat-related issues at a high school graduation in southern New Jersey, where temperatures were in the high 80s.

The National Weather Service confirms four tornados touched down in northern Illinois late Monday. A woman there says she was nearly sucked out of an underground crawlspace where she and her husband were sheltering.

___

4:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service has confirmed a fourth tornado touched down in northern Illinois late Monday.

The EF2 tornado with winds of 111 mph to 135 mph was on the ground for less than a mile near Godley and Braidwood.

Two other tornadoes on Monday night were classified by the weather service as EF2: south of Sublette near Woodhaven Lakes and from Coal City to Braidwood.

A fourth tornado touched down outside of Mendota and was an EF1.

___

3:50 p.m.

The National Weather Service has confirmed a third tornado moved through northern Illinois on Monday, this one with winds speeds up to 110 mph.

Meteorologist David Beachler says weather service assessment teams said an EF1 tornado touched down outside of Mendota, a town of about 7,400 people.

Beachler say surveyors have yet to determine the amount of damage that occurred in the Mendota area, which is southeast of Sublette, where an EF2 tornado heavily damaged the Woodhaven Lakes campground on Monday night.

The state's other confirmed tornado was an EF2 that went from Coal City to Braidwood.

___

12:50 p.m.

The National Weather Service says its assessment teams have confirmed at least two tornadoes with wind speeds between 111 mph and 135 mph touched down in northern Illinois late Monday.

One of the EF-2 tornadoes was in Lee County just south of the village of Sublette near Woodhaven Lakes campground, where Gov. Bruce Rauner has dispatched a search-and-rescue team.

The other EF-2 tornado went from Coal City to Braidwood on the Grundy and Will county line.

Forecasters say the weather service's teams were continuing to assess damage Tuesday and that more tornado confirmations were expected.

Initial damage surveys based on radar show at least seven possible tornado tracks south and west of Chicago.

___

11:30 a.m.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he wants a thorough search of a northern Illinois campground that was hit by a possible tornado on Monday night.

Rauner said at a news conference Tuesday that people who aren't from the Sublette area may be trapped or hurt in the Woodhaven Lakes campground and may not be reported missing. He's sent in a state search-and-rescue team to help.

Rauner toured damage from another possible tornado in Coal City by helicopter and said it's "a miracle" no one died. He described destroyed homes, commercial buildings and warehouses.

The governor also said that the state's preliminary determination is that the area won't qualify for federal assistance but that it wouldn't be known for sure until crews complete damage assessments.

___

11:15 a.m.

A northern Illinois woman says she was nearly sucked out of the underground crawlspace she and her husband were sheltering in as a suspected tornado blew apart the family's 100-year-old corn and soybean farm.

Fifty-nine-year-old Debra Burla of Coal City says she's "still numb." She described trying to clamber toward the middle of the cramped crawlspace on Monday night.

Her daughter, son-in-law and 3½-year-old granddaughter did the same next door. They became trapped for a while in their underground crawlspace after a garage collapsed above them.

All of the family members survived the storm without a scratch. The farm was also hit by tornadoes in 2013 and in 1947, when it was completely ruined.

___

9:40 a.m.

The National Weather Service is sending a survey team to southern Iowa to check damage and confirm a suspected tornado that ripped into a grocery store and nearby homes.

An estimated 40 to 50 Hy-Vee store employees and customers in Albia took shelter in the store cooler when the storm struck Monday evening. It shattered store windows and sent glass flying into a nearby neighborhood. Homes in the area lost roofs and windows as well.

Trees and power lines were knocked down around the city, which is about 70 miles southeast of Des Moines, but no injuries have been reported.

In northwest Iowa, straight-line winds approaching 100 mph destroyed a hangar at Sheldon Regional Airport and disabled five aircraft on Monday. Assistant Sheldon fire chief Randy Harms says firefighters and a hazmat unit were called out to contain airplane fuel that spilled.

___

9:35 a.m.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has deployed an 80-member search and rescue team to help local first responders look for people possibly trapped in a Lee County campground.

Rauner's office said Tuesday morning in a news release that Illinois Task Force 1 will assist at Woodhaven Lakes campground, which was hit by severe weather on Monday night.

The team is specially trained in urban search and rescue, has equipment to help in difficult recovery efforts and has trained search dogs.

The governor also issued a state disaster proclamation for Lee and Grundy counties. Rauner activated the State Emergency Operations Center on Monday evening after a line of storms moved through northern Indiana, bringing as many as seven suspected tornadoes.

___

7:40 a.m.

The mayor of Coal City in northern Illinois says a suspected tornado swept into town, first striking the high school before moving to the southeast over homes and damaging a fire station.

Mayor Terry Halliday said Tuesday morning that crews are surveying damage after the storm that hit at 10 p.m. Monday.

Halliday says shelters are available for anyone who needs them. The American Red Cross says about 30 people spent the night in its Coal City shelter and a handful of people stayed at a shelter in nearby Sublette.

Todd Friddle of the Wilmington Fire Department said officials believe everyone is accounted for, but that a secondary search will be conducted.

He says first responders started searching damaged and collapsed buildings as soon as the storm passed. He says some people were pulled from basements, and that five people suffered minor injuries.

___

6:20 a.m.

The National Weather Service outside Chicago says it's sending two teams out Tuesday to assess damage from severe weather that hit northern Illinois late Monday.

Initial damage surveys based on radar show at least seven possible tornado tracks south and west of Chicago.

Storm reports indicate that Coal City, Mendota and Sublette received the most substantial damage. Other locations include Harmon, Ottawa, Morris and Braidwood to Momence.

Meteorologist Jamie Enderlen says weather service teams will determine how many tornadoes touched down and their severity, including their path, length, width and wind speeds.

___

5:15 a.m.

Police in a northern Illinois community that was hit by a tornado says officials are moving away from search and rescue operations to now assessing damage.

Coal City Police Sgt. Thomas Logan tells the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1FygjoA ) that officials moved to assessing damage as of 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. The community of about 5,000 people about 60 miles southwest of Chicago was particularly hard hit by storms that swept through northern Illinois Monday night.

Lt. Nick Doerfler of the Coal City Fire Protection District says four people were taken to area hospitals for injuries sustained during the storm. He said there haven't been reports of serious injuries or fatalities.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's office said Tuesday morning that he had activated the State Emergency Operations Center in case local responders need help.

___

3 a.m.

A fire official says a severe storm badly damaged at least four houses and knocked down dozens of trees and power lines in part of eastern Michigan.

The National Weather Service received reports of a tornado Monday night near Millington, about 25 miles southeast of Saginaw. Jeff Bassett with Millington Fire Department tells the Saginaw News that a few people were being treated for minor injuries.

Weather officials were also working to confirm whether a tornado touched down in rural Sanilac County. Sheriff Garry Biniecki told The Flint Journal that his office had received reports of damage near Decker, Argyle and Forester.

Earlier Monday, the weather service confirmed that a tornado hit Portland, a town near Lansing. Five people were rescued from buildings.