Illinois cleans up after tornadoes hit homes, trap residents

Several communities in Illinois were cleaning up wreckage on Thursday following a series of tornadoes that destroyed homes, smashed vehicles and trapped residents a night earlier, weather officials said.

At least four tornados touched down amid severe thunderstorms in the area late on Wednesday, most severely damaging the city of Pontiac and village of Seneca, where mobile homes were toppled and vehicles damaged by crashing debris, said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Mosteiko.

In at least two separate incidents, residents of Pontiac and Seneca reported being trapped inside a house and homes in a trailer park after twisters ripped through, Mosteiko said. They were later rescued by fire officials.

There were no reported fatalities or injures from the single weather system, which produced heavy rains and winds approaching 60 mph, he said. Pontiac and Seneca are about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.

The communities of Amboy, Leland and Earlville – all about 50 miles south of Rockford along the I-39 corridor – also reported tornado sightings or damage, Mosteiko said.

The tornadoes came after thunderstorms moved over parts of South Dakota, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, bringing bursts of heavy rainfall totaling more than 2 inches per hour.

The National Weather Service had also issued tornado warnings for Indiana and Iowa late on Wednesday.

The storm is expected to move east through the day, bringing more rain and strong winds to southern Ohio, northeastern Kentucky and West Virginia. It is expected to continue to Virginia and North Carolina.

“There’s still a threat for tornadoes” in some of the states in the storm’s path, Mosteiko said.

Officials with the National Weather Service will continue to assess damage caused by the tornadoes, he said.

–Reuters

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