A town in Illinois had to bear the brunt of a rapidly escalating storm system, triggering multiple tornadoes in its wake. As the storms raged across the Midwest, the Washington County town was badly hit after the storm claimed five lives. There was the essential chaos of things becoming haywire following the tornado. Flattened constructions and strewn mangles of cars dotted the scene. The two major airports in Chicago had to stop air traffic momentarily and the entire metropolitan region is under a watch from the authorities. The NFL fans gathered at the Soldier Field to watch the tussle between Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens, had to look suddenly for shelter with the menacing clouds soon escalating the situation.
The team of weathermen from the National Weather Service survey confirmed that the Washington County in Southern Illinois witnessed winds running 166-200 miles per hour. A particular small farmhouse was the epicenter of damages as it completely succumbed to the ravages of the winds. The farmhouse now only has its foundations intact. Rich Thompson, main forecaster at the Norman, Oklahoma storm Prediction Center noted that there were in total 80 reports of tornadoes, 40 large hail reports, and 358 reports of fast wind. The storm was remarkably fast and the core damage period encompassed around five hours. Thompson states that forecasts show possible storms in New York and Pennsylvania. There was also widespread utility power outage following the storm.
Washington mayor Gary Manier observed that the devastation in the town has been ‘unbelievable’. The town of 15,000 people saw the destruction of hundreds of homes. The Emergency Management Agency noted that there was one fatality in the town. Thirty-one injured are receiving treatment at the Saint Francis Medical Center in adjacent Peoria. Eight injured are recovering from traumatic experiences. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency reported that there were two casualties in Washington County. The agency estimated the leveling of around 70 homes in the ravages of the tornado. Two other people died at Massac County.
The ensuing chaos at the end of destruction is requiring fast action from relief agencies. The destruction has been full scale. Trees uprooted, power lines lost, and there were reports of gas leaks. Many people at the outdoors, in their homes and the mobile homes are finding themselves trapped. State police spokeswoman, Monique Bond of Illinois expressed concern that there might be people trapped in the basements under the debris. Immediately, the authorities extended a curfew from dusk to the dawn to ensure that there are no lawless advantages in the chaos of the situation. Reports of looting are already beginning to come in.
The Red Cross representatives came to the rescue by assisting authorities in setting up tents and providing accommodation to displaced residents. The rescue workers continue their search for life beneath the debris. The fast escalating storm system was initially heading towards Chicago. Incredibly fast winds, hails and thunderstorms accompanied the storm system. Following the heavy handedness of nature, the town now sports the deserted look no one wishes to see.