Severe weather made its way into the High Plains and Midwest Monday with powerful straight-line winds and tornadoes sweeping across that part of the country, causing significant damage to a town in northeastern Illinois.
According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, there were 12 reports of tornadoes in the High Plains and Midwest Monday. Storm survey teams with the National Weather Service will assess the damage today and determine if those reported tornadoes were actually twisters, or if the damage was caused by straight-line winds.
A long-lived squall line known as a derecho tripped across a swath from South Dakota to Wisconsin Monday morning, leaving behind a path of destruction that also included northern Iowa and parts of Southern Minnesota. A second round of thunderstorms began in the afternoon and evening hours across parts of Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan, brining several reports of tornadoes.
The destruction was clear in Coal City, Illinois, by the time the sun rose Tuesday morning. Pieces of homes were strewn about, and trees obtained heavy damage.
Emergency crews worked overnight to free residents trapped in their damaged homes after the storms passed, and told outsiders to stay out of town due to the dangers from downed power lines and other inherent hazards. The twister made its way through the middle of the town, which has a population of about 5,500 people.
“Houses that were once are just not there anymore,” Coal City Police Sgt. Tom Logan told ABC News. He also told the Weather Channel that five injuries had been reported, though none were life threatening.
The National Weather Service surveyed the damaged and determined the tornado was at least an EF2 in strength, Weather.com reported.
Coal City was damaged by an EF2 tornado on November 17, 2013, when another set of tornado outbreaks ran rampant in the Midwest.