5 Dead as Tornadoes Flatten Illinois Towns: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Peoria TV weather coverage interrupted by possible tornadoThis is a clip from WEEK, the NBC affiliate in Peoria, Illinois, on Sunday, November 17, 2013. The same coverage aired on WHOI, the ABC affiliate. Seven minutes after this broadcast, the weather anchors came back and said, "We just had a very scary situation to report. WEEK's TV studio was hit by what appears…2013-11-17T17:40:17.000Z

A massive and violent weather system carved a swath of destruction through America’s heartland this afternoon, terrorizing central Illinois with a barrage of tornadoes that reduced entire neighborhoods to rubble.

The towns of Washington and Pekin, Illinois, were among the hardest hit by the carnage, which began around noon local time.

Here’s what you need to know about this overwhelming natural disaster.


2. At Least Five People Are Dead

ABC reports five confirmed deaths and nearly 40 injuries. The fatal victims include an elderly couple in Nashville, Illinois, a victim in Washington, Illinois, and two victims in Massac County.


2. Pictures of Incredible Destruction Flooded the Internet

Pictures taken from towns across central Illinois and shared via social media show houses leveled and trees ripped out of the ground.

You can see more of these images here.


3. At Least 20 Tornadoes Struck Illinois

(Twitter/@brooksKHOU)

(Twitter/@brooksKHOU)

Lee Goldberg of ABC7 reported that 20 of the first 21 tornadoes that touched down in the Midwest today did so in Illinois.

Illinois tornado

A picture of the destruction caused by the tornado in Peoria, Illinois. (Twitter/@FRED ZWICKY)

Storm Chasers ran a live stream of the storm:

LIVE Storm Chase – Midwest Severe Weather Outbreak Nov 17, 2013*** First live tornado ever to be streamed on YouTube LIVE. *** Nov 17, 2013 Fast Forward to time code 4:27:00 to get to the good shots of the Tornado. Storm Chasing Video meteorologist Tony Laubach is LIVE and mobile covering the expected severe weather event in the mid-west US Nov 17, 2013. SPC FORECAST:…2013-11-17T23:53:45.000Z

4. The Bears Game Was Suspended

The Chicago Bears game versus the Baltimore Ravens was suspended today toward the end of the first quarter as the central Illinois tornadoes headed north. Fans were sent home and told to take shelter, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The game later resumed.

5. This is NOT Supposed to Be Tornado Season

Because tornado season in central Illinois, and for much of the Midwest, ends in June, many have taken to Twitter to blame climate change for these erratic weather conditions.