A spate of tornadoes, rare for this time of year, killed at least six people in Illinois and damaged or destroyed hundreds of houses. The tornadoes were part of a system of violent storms across a dozen states, fueled by warm temperatures and strong winds. Washington, Ill., was particularly unfortunate, reported the Associated Press. A tornado swept away a few hundred residences in a swath an eighth of a mile wide as it crossed the town of 16,000, local officials said.
In the southern part of the state, Joseph Hoy, 80, and his sister Frances Hoy, 78, were killed when a tornado blew away Joseph Hoy’s farmhouse in Washington County, reported the Chicago Tribune. Three others died in Massac County on the Kentucky border.
The Tribune noted that it is unusual for tornadoes to form in Illinois so late in the fall. Before Sunday, only 93 tornado warnings had been issued during the month of November in the state in all the years since 1986. Sunday’s storms forced authorities to give 101 warnings.
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) said many residents were fortunate simply to have survived. “I’m really surprised more people didn’t die,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The other affected states were Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.