US tornadoes: Storm sweeps through America’s Midwest leaving at least six dead

 

A series of tornadoes sweeping across Illinois and Indiana have killed at least six people and injured at least 40 while flattening large parts of the city of Washington in Illinois.

A fast moving storm has created multiple tornadoes in Bone Gap and Miller City, Illinois, in Mount Carmel, Noblesville and Vincennes in Indiana, and in Paducah, Kentucky, the National Weather Service said.

The storm also forced the American Football team, Chicago Bears, to halt their game against the Baltimore Ravens and encourage fans at Soldier Field to seek shelter as the storm roared in. 

Chicago's two major airports also briefly stopped traffic with the metropolitan area was under a tornado watch.

The city of Washington, Illinois, was hit hard by what the National Weather Service called a "large and extremely dangerous" tornado.

An elderly man and his sister were killed when a tornado hit their farmhouse in the town of New Minden, in rural southern Illnois.

And one person was killed in Washington County, about 200 miles south of Peoria, where at least 70 homes were destroyed. Authorities confirmed three other people had also died.

"We have reports of homes being flattened, roofs being torn off," Sara Sparkman, a spokeswoman for the health department of Tazewell County, Illinois, where Washington is located, said in a telephone interview. "We have actual whole neighbourhoods being demolished by the storm."

Photos from Washington, Illinois, showed buildings reduced to rubble and homes torn in half in the city of 15,000 people some 145 miles southwest of Chicago.

Many of the injuries appeared to have been caused by the collapsing structures.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said mobile homes were toppled, roofs torn from homes, and trees uprooted. She said officials believe some people may be trapped in their basements under debris.

The American Red Cross worked with emergency management officials to set up shelters and provide assistance to displaced residents, even as rescue workers searched for more people who might have been caught and trapped in the storm's path.

The Washington tornado came out of a fast-moving storm system that was headed toward Chicago and threatened a large swath of the Midwest with dangerous winds, thunderstorms and hail, US weather officials said.

"We obviously have a very dangerous situation on our hands," Laura Furgione, deputy director of the National Weather Service, told reporters on a conference call.

Weather officials urged residents of areas with tornado warnings in place to take cover in interior, low-floor rooms of study buildings.

The NWS's Storm Prediction Centre said the storm moved dangerously fast, tracking eastward at 60 miles per hour.

This storm system has some similarities to the fast-moving "derecho" storm that knocked out power to more than 4.2 million people and killed 22 in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions in June 2012, according to Bill Bunting, forecast branch chief at the Storm Prediction Centre.

He said: "The line of storms today, we believe, when it's fully mature, will actually be larger than the areas that were affected by the derecho in June of 2012. However, this will also be accompanied by a worse tornado threat in the areas that we've highlighted and large hail in Illinois and Wisconsin."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Intruder Alarm Trainee Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This friendly and fast growing security compan...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore