The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in eastern Oklahoma and is chasing reports of multiple other tornadoes as part of severe thunderstorms Friday night. The exact number of tornadoes won't be known until crews survey the damage, beginning Sunday.
That was the most tornadoes in IL during a December storm since a Dec. 18-19, 1957, outbreak produced 21, Smith said Monday afternoon. IL averages 47 tornadoes annually, usually peaking in May, but a strong cold front set up "the flawless conditions" for Saturday's blitz, says CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.
The National Weather Service received reports of 22 tornadoes, all in central IL on Saturday, while offices in Lincoln, Ill., and St. Louis, began to conduct storm surveys on Sunday to confirm their track and intensity.
Miller said preliminary estimates are that the Taylorville tornado may have been an EF2, which indicates wind speeds as high as 135 miles per hour. The tornado was rated an EF2, which indicates wind speeds as high as 135 miles per hour.
One of the towns hardest hit was Taylorville, about 25 miles southeast of Springfield.
About 10 minutes later, a second weaker tornado was confirmed less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) away near the town of Rudy, Arkansas.
"There were several people who were initially trapped in their homes due to damage initially but were rescued", Crews said.
The warning helped residents take cover and may have saved lives.
The twisters occurred Saturday evening along the Illinois River and near Springfield, Meteorologist Chris Geelhart said.
Andy Goodall, the city's assistant fire chief, estimates that over 100 homes were damaged.
Taylorville Memorial Hospital reported 21 patients sustained storm-related injuries and one patient was critically injured. Majority were discharged within hours of their arrival. Its path was intermittent and mostly caused damage to trees and some structures. There have been no reported deaths; however, at least one injury was reported as critical.