Tornadoes rip through Midwest, killing 1 and damaging hundreds of homes

Steven Tirpak cleans debris from the remains of his two-story home in Taylorville Ill. Sunday Dec. 2 2018. Tirpak and his infant were not home when the storm struck. The National Weather Service says multiple tornadoes touched down in central Illinois

He said it was an odd time of year for tornadoes in IL, and added that it was in part due to the "unseasonably warm and humid weather". That year, 25 tornados tore through Southern Illinois and parts of Missouri, killing 17 people and injuring 273 more.

About 10 minutes later, a second weaker tornado was confirmed less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) away near the town of Rudy, Arkansas. May is the peak month, with an average of 15 tornadoes.

There were several reports of injuries due to the storms, but most were minor.

The National Weather Service says a rare wintertime tornado that struck Taylorville in central IL was half-a-mile-wide and stayed on the ground for at least 10 miles (16 kilometers). That advanced warning gave people critical time to take cover and may have saved lives.

The twisters occurred Saturday evening along the Illinois River and near Springfield, Meteorologist Chris Geelhart said.

Illinois' previous December tornado record was 21 storms during an outbreak on Dec. 18-19, 1957.

According to the National Weather Service, more than 20 unconfirmed tornadoes were reported in central IL.

Meteorologists said Sunday a tornado with peak winds of 115 to 125 miles per hour caused severe damage in northwestern Sequoyah County. Trees, power lines, and buildings were destroyed.

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Up to three other tornadoes are being investigated in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

Severe thunderstorms also raked IL and Missouri on Saturday.

People living in IL are picking up what's left of their homes after almost two dozen tornadoes ripped through the state, injuring at least 30 people.

The weather service sent crews Sunday to survey the hardest-hit areas in IL, which included Taylorville, 25 miles (40 kilometres) southeast of Springfield.

Andy Goodall, the city's assistant fire chief, estimates that over 100 homes were damaged.

Taylorville Memorial Hospital reported 21 patients sustained storm-related injuries and one patient was critically injured. Majority were discharged within hours of their arrival. One death was reported in southwest Missouri early Saturday after thunderstorms there.

The National Weather Service says the actual number of tornadoes that touched down will be confirmed in the coming days.

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