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
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Eagles will spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, play four…

The Eagles have an impressive, challenging and exciting schedule in 2014.

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule.

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."