Tornadoes Hit Midwest, Crush Illinois 'Hood

At least 5 dead, officials confirm

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 17, 2013 1:05 PM CST | Updated Nov 17, 2013 7:42 PM CST

(Newser) – Intense thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the Midwest today, causing extensive damage in several central Illinois communities and killing five, officials confirmed. Among the deaths: An elderly man and his sister who died when a tornado struck their farm house in southern Illinois' Washington County. The tornadoes sent people scrambling for shelter and prompted officials at Chicago's Soldier Field to evacuate the stands and delay the Bears pro football game. (They eventually won.) The community of Washington in central Illinois appeared particularly hard-hit, with one resident saying his neighborhood was wiped out in a matter of seconds by what appeared to be a tornado. "The whole neighborhood's gone, the wall of my fireplace is all that is left of my house," he said.

By mid-afternoon it remained unclear how many people were hurt. In a news release, the Illinois National Guard said it had dispatched firefighters and vehicles to Washington to assist with "immediate search and recovery operations in the tornado damaged area." According to weather service officials, parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan, and western Ohio were at the greatest risk of seeing tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds throughout the day, before the storm system pushed into the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states this evening.

Fans are warned to take cover as a severe storm moves through Soldier Field during the game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
A tornado left a path of devastation through the north end of Pekin, Il.,Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. Intense thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the Midwest on Sunday, causing extensive damage in several...   (AP Photo/Journal Star, Fred Zwicky)
Washington, Ill., firefighters stand in the middle of Devonshire Street on the North side of Washington, Ill., after a tornado leveled at least fifty homes, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/The Pantagraph, Steve Smedley)
Ray Baughman embraces family shortly after his home was destroyed by a tornado that left a path of devastation through the north end of Pekin, Il., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Journal Star, Fred Zwicky)
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Prayers are spoken as a tornado moves outside.   (CNN)

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