Illinois city locked down as officials assess tornado damage

A vehicle sits on a pile of debris from the destruction caused by a tornado that touched down in Washington, Illinois, November 17, 2013.
A vehicle sits on a pile of debris from the destruction caused by a tornado that touched down in Washington, Ill., on Nov. 17.
Credit: Reuters

Police were turning residents away from Washington, Ill., on Monday morning, the day after a series of tornadoes pounded the Midwest, killing six people across the state and flattening the city of 15,000 people.

Bits of American flags and insulation from destroyed homes clung to trees that had been stripped of their remaining leaves and most of their branches by the Washington twister. Spawned by a fast-moving storm system, the tornado had winds of up to 200 miles per hour.

The storm, which killed one person in Washington, destroyed 250 to 500 houses in that city, said Mayor Gary Manier. He said authorities were keeping evacuated residents away from the area out of concern that the remaining structures were dangerously unstable.

“I know it’s frustrating for people,” Manier said amid piles of rubble left by the storm. “I’d be frustrated. I’d want to be looking for pictures.”

The storm killed three people in Massac Country, two in Washington County and one in the city of Washington, in Tazewell County, said Patti Thompson of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. It produced about 80 tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornadoes leveled scores of homes and demolished entire neighborhoods. The National Weather Service confirmed preliminary EF-4 tornado damage in Washington County in southern Illinois, with winds of 166 to 200 miles per hour.

The unusual late-season storms moved dangerously fast, tracking east at 60 miles per hour, with the bulk of the damage spanning about five hours, Thompson said. Remnants of the storm brought rain and wind to the northeastern United States on Monday morning.

Utility companies reported that about 43,000 homes and businesses in Illinois and 7,000 in Missouri were without power on Monday morning.

Devastation

Little was left standing in Washington on Monday morning.

“There isn’t even debris; it looks like someone vacuumed up the neighborhood,” said U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, a Republican whose district includes Washington.

“The good news is the tornado warning system worked, so there wasn’t a lot of loss of life,” Schock said. “These people knew what was coming, and they were smart and took cover.”

Manier said about 60 people had been injured in Washington. One factor that worked to the town’s advantage was that many residents had been in churches when the storms hit, he said.

Two people, an 80-year-old man and his 78-year-old sister, were killed in Washington County, Ill., about 200 miles south of Peoria, county Coroner Mark Styninger said.

Three others were killed in Massac County, Ill., on the Kentucky border, where a tornado devastated several neighborhoods, emergency officials said.

The American Red Cross worked with emergency management officials to set up shelters and provide assistance.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…