Tornado outbreak in Central Illinois

Illinois surveys damage after rare December tornadoes

Multiple tornadoes were reported on Saturday night across central IL, injuring at least 30 people in the small town of Taylorville, which has a population of just 11,200 residents. Tornadoes were also reported in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Meteorologist Dan Smith with the weather service's Lincoln, Illinois, office says crews had confirmed 23 tornado touchdowns across central Illinois by Monday afternoon.

No injuries or fatalities were reported as a result of the tornadoes. If most are confirmed as tornadoes, Miller said that would be the most tornadoes in IL in a December storm since Dec. 18-19, 1957, when there were 21. The tornado was rated an EF2, which indicates wind speeds as high as 135 miles per hour.

The severe weather in IL was part of a line of thunderstorms that raked areas of the central United States late Friday and into Saturday, killing one person in Missouri. Its path was intermittent and mostly caused damage to trees and to some structures.

The warning helped residents take cover and may have saved lives.

To put Saturday night's storms into perspective, just 14 tornadoes total have been reported in the central part of IL between 1950 and 2017, according to Miller.

Taylorville's assistant fire chief, Andy Goodall, estimated that more than 100 homes were damaged, while Country Classic Cars Dealership owner Russel Noel said about 200 vehicles were damaged by the tornadoes. Officials say 21 people were hospitalized there, one critically, and crews responded to over a dozen houses that contained trapped people, per ABC News.

The National Weather Service said that peak months for tornadoes in much of the Midwest are April and June. A 75 miles per hour wind gust at Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport on Saturday evening set a December wind speed record for the Illinois' capital, the State Journal-Register reported. One death was reported in southwest Missouri early Saturday after thunderstorms there.

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