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The Latest: Central Illinois Twister Packed 155 Mph Winds

Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017 09:54 PM

OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on severe weather affecting a large swath of the central U.S. (all times local):

5:00 p.m.

The National Weather Service says the tornado that roared through Ottawa, Illinois, and the small village of Naplate packed winds up to 155 mph.

The weather service rated Tuesday's tornado, which caused severe damage in Naplate and left one dead in Ottawa, an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale.

The weather service did not rule out the possibility that other tornados may have touched down in the area southwest of Chicago. Baseball sized hail was also observed in the area.

An EF-1 tornado was reported near the northern Illinois town of Oregon. Straight line winds of around 80 mph following the tornado caused additional damage.

In southern Illinois, an apparent twister of undetermined strength near the town of Crossville killed a 71-year-old man and injured his wife.

3:10 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump is monitoring severe weather that caused a string of tornadoes blamed for three deaths in the Midwest.

The deadly storm is moving to the East, and White House spokesman Sean Spicer says the president urges everyone in the storm's path to follow directions from emergency services officials and stay inside.

Spicer says the White House will stay in touch with state and local officials to provide federal support as needed.

Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed in storms that began Tuesday night. One man was killed in Missouri and two people died in Illinois.

2:50 p.m.

Authorities say a tornado that caused widespread damage in Missouri was a strong one that was on the ground for several miles.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Shanklin says the tornado that struck the area near Perryville, Missouri, Tuesday night was a strong one, though the wind speed has not yet been determined. Perryville Fire Chief Jeremy Triller says the twister was on the ground for up to 15 miles, starting in Missouri and ending in Illinois.

A 24-year-old Perryville man died when the vehicle he was in was blown off of Interstate 55 and he was ejected.

More than 100 homes in the area near Perryville were damaged, many of them destroyed. Twelve people were injured but none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

11:50 a.m.

Authorities have identified a central Illinois man who was killed by a deadly storm system that pummeled much of the Midwest.

The LaSalle County coroner's office said Wednesday that 76-year-old Wayne Tuntland, of Ottawa, was crushed by a falling tree. More than a dozen people in the area were injured.

Fire Chief John Nevins says about 50 of 200 homes were damaged in Naplate, a small community next to Ottawa.

Gov. Bruce Rauner toured the region Wednesday and thanked first responders.

The storms have been blamed for two other deaths, including one in southeastern Illinois and one in Missouri. The storm system has spawned several tornadoes and caused damage in more than half a dozen states as it moves eastward.

10:50 a.m.

Authorities say a deadly storm system that pounded the central U.S. is causing flooding in parts of northern West Virginia.

Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says the agency is monitoring conditions throughout the state with the help of county and municipal authorities.

He says some roads have been flooded and drains are backing up, and that some schools cancelled classes as a precaution.

Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Hart told WTRF-TV in Wheeling that flooding was occurring on four creeks.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch through Wednesday evening for the Northern Panhandle and a severe thunderstorm and flood watch for most of the state.

The spring-like storm system has been blamed for killing two people in Illinois and one in Missouri.

10:40 a.m.

Communities across Illinois are cleaning up from a deadly storm system that blew through the state and much of the Midwest.

At least three people died and authorities reported minor injuries. In Illinois, the storms damaged homes and businesses and toppled trees and powerlines.

In southwestern Illinois, many residents were still without power in Randolph County on Wednesday. Golf ball-sized hail was reported in Edwardsville.

In the central Illinois community of Washburn, several homes were damaged. Resident Nelda Bezille tells the Peoria Journal-Star that her garage collapsed on her car.

Two people were killed in Illinois, including one in the central Illinois city of Ottawa.

The National Weather Service has dispatched survey teams to assess the damage. Meteorologist Amy Seeley says the teams also will determine how long tornados were on the ground.

10:15 a.m.

March is coming in like a lion for most of Pennsylvania, with severe weather moving across the state and bringing everything from tornado warnings and hail to flash-flood watches and thunderstorms.

Tornado warnings have been issued for parts of Greene and Washington counties in western Pennsylvania. Flood warnings are in place for communities in Westmoreland, Washington, Greene and Fayette counties.

The National Weather Service in State College says the thunderstorms in southwestern Pennsylvania will shift eastward throughout Wednesday, with potentially damaging winds of 60 mph or greater in some places.

Record warmth is expected from Philadelphia to Allentown and some sections of the Poconos, followed by thunderstorms with hail in the afternoon and into the evening. Damaging winds are also in the forecast in those areas.

Isolated tornados are possible around the state.

9:40 a.m.

Forecasters say the spring-like storm system that killed at least three people in the Midwest may have spawned a tornado near a mall south of Nashville, Tennessee.

National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Herron said Wednesday that there have been numerous reports of scattered damage across the central part of the state.

He says there were reports of a possible tornado near the Cool Springs mall south of Nashville. The Nashville Emergency Operations Center tweeted that damage to power lines and trees indicates another possible tornado touched down in the city.

Clarksville Police Department spokesman Lt. Steve Warren told The Leaf-Chronicle that a tree fell on a home in central Tennessee, injuring a 12-year-old boy.

9:05 a.m.

Authorities say a tornado that killed a man near Perryville, Missouri, destroyed more than 100 homes in the area.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Juston Wheetley said Wednesday that the man was killed when the tornado blew his vehicle off of Interstate 55 on Tuesday night. A second person in the vehicle wasn't harmed.

About 20 other people in the county suffered minor injuries.

Wheatley says emergency crews assessing damage have determined that nearly 110 homes have been left uninhabitable.

The storm was part of a spring-like system that also killed at least two other people in Illinois and damaged property in several states.

This update has been corrected to show that the Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman's name is Juston Wheetley, not Justin Wheatley.

8:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service says survey teams will be moving across Illinois to catalog damage and determine the number of tornados that touched down in the state.

The twisters were spawned by a powerful storm system that moved through a large swath of the central U.S. on Tuesday and Wednesday. It has killed at least three people, including two in Illinois.

Meteorologist Amy Seeley says the teams on Wednesday also will determine how long tornados were on the ground.

Authorities say one person was killed Tuesday in the central Illinois city of Ottawa by a tornado spawned by a late-winter storm system. And in the Crossville area, authorities say a suspected tornado killed a 71-year-old man and injured his wife.

A tornado hit the LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa, but no serious injuries were reported to residents. Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to survey the damage Wednesday morning.

Naplate Fire Chief John Nevins estimates about 50 homes were damaged in the village west of Ottawa.

8:25 a.m.

Severe thunderstorms that swept through Indiana overnight cut power to nearly 30,000 homes and businesses.

Duke Energy spokesman Lew Middleton says the storms toppled trees and limbs onto power lines and damaged large transmission towers.

Most of the outages are in southern Indiana. Middleton said crews are working Wednesday to restore power but that it's not going to be a quick fix.

The storms damaged 10 to 15 homes in southwestern Indiana's Posey County. The county's emergency management director, Larry Robb, says the town of Poseyville suffered extensive damage that apparently was caused by the same deadly tornado that struck adjacent White County, Illinois, and killed a man.

Robb says Interstate 64 near Poseyville was closed for two hours overnight because of fallen trees.

8:10 a.m.

An emergency management official says storms that swept through a northern Arkansas county damaged 40 homes and injured at least 10 people.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Melody Daniel says no deaths have been reported in Arkansas with Tuesday's storms, but some injuries and damage were reported statewide. Daniel says 10 to 15 people were taken to hospitals in White County, home to the hard-hit towns of Higginson and Kensett.

The extent of their injuries wasn't clear early Wednesday.

Daniel says damage was reported to employees' mobile homes at a state prison facility in Jackson County, and "a few minor injuries" were reported there as well.

Elsewhere, damage was reported at the courthouse and county jail in the Ozarks Mountains town of Marshall, about 80 miles north of Little Rock.

8:05 a.m.

Forecasters say about 95 million people are in the path of a storm system that caused substantial damage overnight in the central U.S.

The storm system that pummeled parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana is now heading to the east. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says an area stretching from the Appalachians to the mid-Atlantic could see bad weather Wednesday, including powerful winds, tornadoes and large hailstones.

Tornado warnings were issued Wednesday morning in Nashville, which was at a moderate risk for severe weather.

Other areas that could see storms include New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

7:30 a.m.

Authorities say a second person in Illinois was killed by the severe storm system that swept through the Midwest and spawned tornados.

White County Coroner Chris Marsh said Wednesday that the system moving through the central U.S. Tuesday and Wednesday spawned a twister that struck a small building near a house in the Crossville area, which is in southeastern Illinois near the border with Indiana. It killed a 71-year-old man and injured his wife.

The system has been blamed for killing at least two other people, including one who was struck by an uprooted tree in the central Illinois community of Ottawa and another who was killed by an apparent tornado that tore through Perry County, Missouri, about 80 miles south of St. Louis.

The storms also battered parts of Indiana as they moved eastward into Ohio and states to the south.

7:20 a.m.

The National Weather Service is sending crews to evaluate the damage from a powerful storm system that spawned deadly tornadoes in the nation's midsection.

Meteorologist Kevin Smith in Paducah, Kentucky, says the crews will determine the width, path and intensity of the tornadoes that hit Tuesday in Missouri, Illinois and elsewhere.

One of the most damaging tornadoes hit near a rural area of southeast Missouri. Perry County Clerk Jared Kutz says one person was killed and eight to 10 homes near the town of Perryville were badly damaged. Several cars and trucks were blown off of Interstate 55.

In Illinois, an uprooted tree killed a tornado victim in the town of Ottawa. State Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson says minor injuries were also reported at an Ottawa nursing home.

7 a.m.

Officials say thousands of residents around Ohio awoke to power outages, damaged homes or downed trees after thunderstorms battering the Midwest brought heavy rain, high winds and even quarter-size hail to some parts of the Buckeye State.

Numerous schools delayed the start of classes Wednesday as continuing storms and gusty winds slowed morning commutes. High water or flooding concerns were reported on various roadways from southwestern Ohio all the way north toward Cleveland.

WBNS-TV reports a suspected tornado in southern Ohio's Highland County was blamed for damaging several homes near Leesburg. No serious injuries were reported there.

Some parts of the state were slated to remain under tornado watches or flooding advisories into late morning.

5:20 a.m.

Severe thunderstorms packing rain, hail and high winds caused damage in parts of Indiana.

The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for areas including LaGrange County in northern Indiana on Tuesday night as the storms moved through the Midwest. Other portions of northern Indiana were under severe thunderstorm warnings that expired early Wednesday.

WANE-TV reports power lines were knocked down in the Fort Wayne area and part of a roof was torn off a convenience store in Fort Wayne. No serious injuries were immediately reported.

In southwestern Indiana, WXIN-TV reports storm damage in Posey and Gibson counties that included damaged homes as well as downed trees and power lines. Utilities reported several thousand customers were without power in Posey, Jackson and some other counties.

4:50 a.m.

The National Weather Service says survey teams will be moving across Illinois to catalog damage and determine the number of tornados that swept across the state.

Meteorologist Amy Seeley says the teams on Wednesday also will determine how long tornados were on the ground.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson says one person was killed Tuesday in the central Illinois city of Ottawa by a tornado spawned by a late-winter storm system.

A tornado hit the LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa, but no serious injuries were reported to residents. Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to survey the damage Wednesday morning.

Naplate Fire Chief John Nevins estimates about 50 homes were damaged in the village west of Ottawa. Nevins told the News-Tribune of Ottawa that only minor injuries were reported.

4 a.m.

Tornadoes touched down in the upper Midwest and northern Arkansas, killing at least two people, as a spring-like storm system posed a risk to 45 million people.

Compact but strong storms known as supercells raked parts of the central U.S. on Tuesday, causing damage from Arkansas to Iowa and Illinois. Wind-whipped wildfires destroyed homes in Texas.

At Ottawa, Illinois, state Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson said a tornado victim was killed by an uprooted tree. Minor injuries were also reported at an Ottawa nursing home, but Thompson said the number of those hurt in the twisters was not known.

Meanwhile, one person was killed when an apparent tornado ripped through Perry County, Missouri, about 80 miles south of St. Louis. Eight to 10 homes near the small town of Perryville were badly damaged and winds were so strong that several vehicles were blown off of Interstate 55. Perry County Clerk Jared Kutz said search and rescue crews were going door-to-door and checking the highway to see if there were other victims.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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