Off-season tornado outbreak hits Midwest, destroying over 100 homes and killing one person

More than 20 preliminary tornadoes were reported across Illinois and Missouri on Saturday evening, December 1, 2018. At least one person was killed, several were injured and at least 100 homes destroyed.

The hardest hit area appears to be Taylorville near Springfield, IL where emergency crews reported major damage. Several people were trapped inside partially collapsed homes or by downed power lines, WGN reports.

State police urged all residents to avoid the down due to severe damage and closed roads.

According to The Herald & Review, at least 100 buildings were destroyed across the town.

“We activated the State Emergency Operations Center so that we could closely monitor the situation, keep in contact with local officials and quickly mobilize any state assets that may be needed,” Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said in a statement. “If state assistance is needed, we are well positioned to provide it quickly and efficiently.”

According to Aurora, MO Fire Chief, one person inside Aurora motel was killed as the storm passed through. Several roads, including U.S. 60 between Aurora and Marionville, were closed, AP reports.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in Aurora overnight. The tornado touched down 1.2 km (2 miles) S of Aurora and tracked northeast to the Aurora motel. The tornado then traveled north across Hwy 60 and impacted Southerlands before dissipating. The path was approximately 800 m (0.5 miles) in length and about 45 m (50 yards) wide. Wind speeds were estimated to be 168 km/h (105 mph).

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According to AccuWeather meteorologist Renee Duff, around 10 000 customers were left without power at the height of the storm. The number dropped to below 3 000 on Sunday morning, December 2.

While there are over 20 preliminary tornado reports, the actual number of confirmed tornadoes will be determined by storm surveys over the coming days, Rathbun said.

The reports mention several long-tracked tornadoes and wedges, including at least one nighttime wedge.

“Tornadoes can happen at any month of the year across the United States; however, they are more common to occur across the Deep South during December,” Rathbun said. “There are an average of around 24 tornadoes in the United States in December with one per year occurring in Illinois.” 

From 1950-2017, a total of 55 tornadoes have occurred in Illinois during December, according to the National Weather Service.

Featured image credit: LSM

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