Wednesday 17 January 2018

Three people dead as violent tornadoes batter US Midwest

The tornado touches down in Washington, Illinois
The tornado touches down in Washington, Illinois
A Washington firefighter checks a flattened home for casualties.

Associated Press

Intense thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the US Midwest yesterday, killing at least three people and causing extensive damage in several central Illinois communities.

Officials confirmed that three people died from tornadoes that hit central and southern Illinois.

Melanie Arnold of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency said one person was killed when a tornado struck the town of Washington in cental Illinois. She did not have any details about the victim.

Earlier in the day, the county coroner in Washington County in southern Illinois said that an elderly man and his sister were killed when a tornado struck their farm house in the town of New Minden, about 80km south-east of St Louis.

The storm that struck New Minden and Washington was part of a series of intense thunderstorms and tornadoes that swept across the Midwest yesterday, causing extensive damage in several Illinois communities.

One Washington resident said his neighbourhood had been wiped out in a matter of seconds by a tornado.

"I stepped outside and I heard it coming.

"My young daughter was already in the basement – so I ran downstairs and grabbed her and crouched in the laundry room. All of a sudden I could see daylight up the stairway and my house was gone," Michael Perdun told reporters yesterday afternoon.

"The whole neighbourhood is gone, (and) the wall of my fireplace is all that is left of my house."

It remains unclear how many people have been injured.

Irish Independent

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