Multiple Tornadoes Touch Down Across Central Illinois
The National Weather Service says multiple tornadoes touched down in central Illinois, damaging dozens of structures and injuring at least 20 people.
Meteorologist Chris Geelhart says the twisters occurred Saturday evening along the Illinois River and near Springfield. Geelhart says the exact number of tornadoes won't be known until crews survey the damage, beginning Sunday.
One of the towns hardest hit was Taylorville, about 25 miles southeast of Springfield. No fatalities have been reported, but Geelhart says three people were transferred to a Springfield hospital in critical condition.
The Herald & Review reports 100 Taylorville buildings were damaged. Residents said the storms came suddenly, following a period of rain and pea-sized hail.
Taylorville Memorial Hospital announced it had treated 21 people following the storm, and Taylorville officials say they believe all are accounted for after rescue crews worked to free people who were trapped in debris, according to NPR Illinois:
"A shelter for those who could not return home is in place at the Crossroads Apostolic Church on Jaycee Drive. The Taylorville Food Pantry opened Sunday for those needing emergency help.
"Ameren crews worked to restore utility service and take care of downed power lines throughout the night. That process will continue Sunday."
Gov. Bruce Rauner activated the State Emergency Operations Center in response to the storms. Several agencies report to the operations center, including the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Department of Public Health and the American Red Cross.