At least six people are dead after a massive severe weather outbreak in the Midwest on Sunday that spawned several tornadoes across Illinois, Indiana, and portions of Missouri and Kentucky.
Two people were killed in New Minden, Ill., a small town in the state’s Washington County. Another person was killed in the city of Washington, Ill., in Tazewell County, Patti Thompson of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency told BuzzFeed.
Two more people are dead and one is missing in Brookport, Ill., a town near the southern tip of the state, according to KFVS. Thompson was unable to confirm the information when asked by BuzzFeed, but Jonathon Monken, director of IEMA, confirmed the deaths to ABC News.
Dozens more were reported injured in the storms near Washington, Pekin, Ill., and Peoria, Ill., according to the Peoria Journal Star.
Tornado touchdowns have been confirmed by the National Weather Service in Vermilion, Champaign, Tazewell, Woodford, Peoria, Massac, and Iroquois counties. Damage has also been reported from severe weather in LaSalle, Wayne, Grundy, and Washington counties, according to IEMA.
Damage surveyed in New Minden indicated the storm produced a powerful EF-4 tornado there with wind speeds of up to 200mph, according to the National Weather Service in St. Louis.
Calls made by BuzzFeed to the office of Washington Chief of Police Don Volk were met with a message saying, “Due to telephone company facility trouble, your call could not be completed at this time,” suggesting phone service outages in the city. Washington is home to over 10,000 people.
As of Sunday evening, there were almost 80 reports of tornadoes, according to preliminary information from the Storm Prediction Center.
Most of these are in Illinois, but tornadoes also caused damage in Kentucky, Missouri, and Indiana. Major cities including Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus in Ohio, as well as Louisville, Ky., are still at risk for dangerous weather Sunday night.
Tornadoes began touching down just after 11 a.m. CT, according to the National Weather Service in Chicago. More reports continued to come in past noon.
1118 AM: Rutland, Dana & Long Point— a confirmed, large damaging tornado is ON THE GROUND. 1130-1140 AM arrival. Seek shelter now! #ilwx
Around 12:30 p.m. CT, Chicago Bears fans were evacuated from Soldier Field in Chicago as debris began to fly around the stadium.
Live from Soldier Field. #Bears #BALvsCHI
And Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn urged everybody to stay inside.
Governor Pat Quinn
Todayâ€™s severe weather warnings & storms across #IL are very serious. I urge everyone to pay attention to weather alerts & stay inside.
A tornado hit Pekin, Ill., around 11:30 a.m CT.
Tornado just hit Pekin
Tornado damage. Pekin, IL
At least 50 homes were completely destroyed.
Tornado levels at least 50 homes in Washington, Ill. (@Pantagraph) http://t.co/XvhCgh09fy
Confirmed aerial photo of tornado damage in Washington, IL (originally tweeted by @JournoBuedel)
Devastation from Washington, IL. Please pray for those affected. Horrific images coming in.
Just spoke with #Washington mayor. I asked what we can report to help. He said only “please pray.”
A look at the tornado that touched down near Washington, #Illinois
After the tornado #Peoria #Washington
A friend just texted me this pic from Washington where a home stood a few hours ago:
Coal City, Ill. — like Washington — was one of the towns hit hardest by the storms. The town is home to about 5,000 people.
This was a tornado picture earlier in Coal City and Grundy County #ilwx
Picture: Significant damage in Coal City, IL after earlier tornado via @SteveGrzanich
Damage in coal city @abc7
This is absolutely horrible. This was taken in Coal City, IL. #ilwx #severeweather #tcot
A tornado watch was also issued for central Indiana.
From @tammylively: House in the middle of road in Kokomo, Indiana
Southwestern middle school gym. Destroyed. @FOX59 @fox59weather #INwx
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.