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Rare December tornadoes reported in central US; 1 dead

AP  |  Taylorville (Illinois) 

residents Monday continued assessing the damage after rare December hit, including one that was a half-mile-wide.

At least 20 people were hurt. The severe weather in was part of a line of thunderstorms that raked areas of the late Friday and into Saturday, killing one person in The confirmed in Illinois, and

At least three were confirmed in northwest and southwest Arkansas, which largely caused property and structural damage. No injuries or fatalities were reported.

Peak months for tornadoes in much of the Midwest are April and June, according to the weather service. But at least 23 tornado touchdowns on Saturday have been confirmed in Illinois, said Dan Smith, a with the weather service's Lincoln, Illinois, office.

That was the most tornadoes in during a December since a Dec. 18-19, 1957, outbreak produced 21, Smith said Monday afternoon. He said that number may grow because crews continue surveying three other sites to determine if damage there was also caused by tornadoes.

The weather service sent crews Sunday to survey the hardest-hit areas in Illinois, which included Taylorville, 25 miles (40 kilometres) southeast of Springfield. A survey showed that produced estimated peaks winds of 155 mph (249 kilometres per hour).

It said information from emergency management officials indicated 34 homes were severely damaged or destroyed, 66 homes sustained major damage, and 406 homes were damaged but inhabitable in the city of 11,000.

Photographs and video from showed several houses flattened, with residents wading into debris to salvage what they could. Some homes remained standing but with gaping holes in the roofs or with no roofs at all.

The tornado was on the ground for around 10 miles (16 kilometres) before it thundered through Taylorville, and the weather service was able to warn residents of its arrival 41 minutes before it actually struck, Chris Miller, a at the service's office, said in a phone interview Sunday. That advanced warning gave people critical time to take cover and may have saved lives.

A Memorial Hospital said 21 people, from age 9 to 97, arrived for treatment Saturday. Most were released within hours. Miller said three people remained hospitalized as of Sunday afternoon.

Illinois Gov. declared Christian County, where is located, a state disaster are, makes available various state resources that can help it recover.

The weather service said Sunday that a strong tornado that developed from severe thunderstorms Friday night touched down in Van Buren, It was rated an EF2.

About 10 minutes later, a second weaker tornado was confirmed less than 10 miles (16 kilometres) away near the town of Rudy,

Damage surveys for the two tornadoes are ongoing but officials said dozens of homes were damaged.

Early Saturday morning a third tornado with estimated peak winds of 107 mph traveled about 8.5 miles (13.5 kilometers) through in

Its path was intermittent and mostly caused damage to trees and to some structures.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 04 2018. 07:35 IST