At least 22 unexpected tornadoes touched down across Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Arkansas at the weekend. Central Illinois was the hardest hit, with 12 twisters destroying homes and injuring people.
The tornadoes seriously injured at least 20 people and killed at least one in Missouri. Officials are still working to assess the damage to housing and structures in the state. An uncounted number of houses were completely destroyed, and a water treatment plant in Beardstown, Illinois was damaged.
The Illinois electric and gas delivery company Ameren and CTI Fiber Network reported that at least 2,000 people in Taylorville, Illinois are without power.
Tornadoes are common in middle American states like Illinois. Residents of Illinois experience, on average, 47 tornadoes per year. May is typically the peak tornado month, averaging 15 twisters each year. However, there are usually none in December. The current December record of twisters is 21 in 1957. If all 22 reported tornadoes are confirmed, 2018 would set a new record.
The National Weather Service is still assessing what happened, and will later issue a formal report of the damage done and exact number of twisters that touched down.
To help asses the damage, the Illinois Department of Transportation sent one of their drones to video Taylorville in Illinois. The footage, shown above, shows broken housing and strewn debris across a suburban landscape.
Extreme weather like droughts, wildfires, floods, and excessive hurricanes have been tied to climate change. However, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, links between climate change and tornadoes are unclear. Climate change affects temperature and wind patterns, but whether the patterns would converge in a way that creates twisters is uncertain.
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