The Latest: 6 tornadoes hit northern Illinois; 7 injured

AP News
|
Posted: Jun 23, 2016 7:45 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on storms that moved across the Midwest causing multiple tornado touchdowns (all times local):

7 p.m.

Illinois officials and residents are assessing damage after six tornadoes damaged rural communities in the northern part of the state amid powerful storms that swept across the Upper Midwest.

The National Weather Service said an EF2 tornado with estimated top wind speeds of 115-125 mph cut a path more than 11 miles long and about four football fields wide into the city of Pontiac on Wednesday night. Officials said at least seven people were injured in that tornado.

Survey crews also identified three EF1 tornadoes, with maximum winds up to 110 mph, that struck Cissna Park, Ottawa and West Brooklyn. No injuries resulted from those storms.

According to Pontiac Fire Chief Scott Runyon, about two dozen homes and nine commercial businesses were damaged in the Pontiac area.

___

3:50 p.m.

The National Weather Service now says at least six tornadoes hit Illinois.

The weather service increased its count of the twisters Thursday afternoon, a day after the storms.

It says an EF-2 tornado with estimated top wind speeds of 115 to 125 mph cut a path more than 11 miles long through the city of Pontiac. Its maximum width was about four football fields wide. That tornado injured four people.

Survey crews also have identified three EF-1 tornadoes, with maximum winds up to 110 mph, that struck Cissna Park, Ottawa and West Brooklyn. No injuries resulted from those storms, but they downed trees, damaged buildings and flattened corn stalks.

___

2:35 p.m.

The National Weather Service says a tornado packing peak winds of 90 mph traveled nearly 7 miles through the northern Illinois city of Ottawa.

It says the tornado was one of at least four that touched down in northern and central Illinois Wednesday night as powerful storms moved across the state.

The weather service said the Ottawa twister was an EF-1 in strength and carved a 100-yard path over four minutes. No one was hurt.

It said earlier an EF-2 tornado with estimated top wind speeds of 115 to 125 mph cut a path more than 11 miles long through the nearby city of Pontiac. It was about four football fields wide. That tornado injured four people.

The weather service says the number of confirmed tornado touchdowns is expected to increase.

___

1:10 p.m.

The National Weather Service confirms a tornado cut a more than 11-mile path through the Illinois city of Pontiac, injuring four people on Wednesday night.

The tornado was one of at least four the weather service said touched down in northern and central Illinois as powerful storms moved across the state. On Thursday the weather service said the tornado near Pontiac rated an EF-2 with estimated top wind speeds of 115 to 125 mph. It was 440 yards wide.

The Pontiac tornado collapsed the brick and wood wall of a building southwest of the city and damaged a gas station.

The weather service said crews would survey storm damage on Thursday, and the number of confirmed tornado touchdowns was expected to increase.

___

1 p.m.

A northwestern Indiana town buffeted by high winds has declared a state of emergency.

Brookston made the declaration Thursday morning after the entire town lost power. WLFI TV says two state highways in the town are blocked by storm debris. Authorities are warning people to avoid the area.

Town Marshal Troy Yeoman says storm sirens didn't sound because of the power outage. The National Weather Service says a 100 mph wind gust was recorded in the nearby town of Battle Ground.

Brookston resident Steve Hall tells WLFI-TV "the wind was so ferocious" that people couldn't stand in it. He says the wind took a healthy, young tulip poplar tree and "just twisted it and laid it over like a pretzel."

Red Cross volunteers say nearly 50 families are at an emergency shelter.

___

10:25 a.m.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois is thankful there were no fatalities after powerful storms brought at least four tornado touchdowns to the north and center of the state.

Rauner said in a Thursday morning statement that Illinois State Police are patrolling and offering assistance to local law enforcement after the Wednesday night storms. Rauner says Illinois is "fortunate things are not worse."

The worst of the storm damage appears to be near Seneca and Pontiac, about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.

The National Weather Service says it has crews out Thursday morning surveying damage from at least three separate supercell paths. Its forecasters say that the number of confirmed tornado touchdowns is likely to increase. Officials also have requested an air survey of damage.

___

7:55 a.m.

Severe storms swept northern and central Indiana overnight, toppling trees with winds up to 100 mph and leaving nearly 30,000 homes and businesses without power.

National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Skowronek (Skuh-RON'-Ick) says 100 mph winds were reported overnight near the Tippecanoe County town of Battle Ground northeast of Lafayette.

He says storms produced winds in excess of 80 mph elsewhere in north-central and northwestern Indiana and heavy rainfall caused flooding in Thorntown in Boone County northwest of Indianapolis.

The Journal & Courier reports two hog barns collapsed when a storm swept Clinton County, but no injuries were reported.

Duke Energy reported about 14,500 customer outages Thursday morning, while Indianapolis Power & Light had another 12,300 outages. Northern Indiana Public Service Co. reported 3,000 outages.

___

6:35 a.m.

One homeowner says he huddled in a basement with his wife, two children and seven neighbors when a storm that produced a tornado moved into the northern Illinois village of Seneca.

Jeff Maierhofer tells WLS-TV that his farm suffered extensive damage Wednesday when the storm hit the village about 70 miles southwest of Chicago. He says everyone is safe "but there's a lot of damage." The tornado is one of four confirmed touchdowns in northern Illinois.

The National Weather Service is sending out crews Thursday morning to survey damage and says more touchdown confirmations are likely.

Nate Hermann of Serena, a rural town just north of Seneca, told the Chicago Tribune that area communities are "wiped out everywhere." He described downed power lines and tree, and flattened corn crops.

___

6:15 a.m.

At least four tornadoes touched down overnight in northern Illinois, causing damage and forcing thousands of soccer fans to seek shelter during the Copa America semifinal in Chicago.

The National Weather Service in Chicago says survey crews will on Thursday morning investigate damage along three separate supercell paths. The weather service says the number of confirmed tornadoes will likely increase.

Officials also plan to survey the damage by air.

The weather service said firefighters responded to reports of people trapped in a house in Seneca, about 70 miles southwest of Chicago. No injuries were reported. Minor injuries and damage to a gas station were reported in Pontiac, about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.

Strong storms forced a two-hour delay in the Copa America semifinal at Soldier Field.