December Tornado Outbreak Hits Central U.S., Leaving At Least 1 Dead

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More than a dozen tornadoes struck the state of IL, injuring at least 30 people and damaging hundreds of cars and structures.

The National Weather Service says at least 23 tornadoes touched down Saturday in IL, making the outbreak the state's largest on record for December.

Crews began conducting further damage assessment on Sunday morning. "Nobody got hurt and we can do what we got to do to get her going again", said Russel Noel, Country Classic Car owner. Majority were discharged within hours of their arrival.

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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.

To put Saturday night's storms into perspective, just 14 tornadoes total have been reported in the central part of IL between 1950 and 2017, according to Miller. According to data from the Tornado History Project, the last time tornadoes were reported in IL in December was in 2015 when six tornados broke out.

The weather service said Sunday that a strong tornado that developed from severe thunderstorms Friday night touched down in Van Buren, Arkansas. About 10 minutes later, a second weaker tornado was confirmed less than 10 miles (16 kilometres) away near the town of Rudy, Arkansas.

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Meteorologists said Sunday a tornado with peak winds of 115 to 125 miles per hour caused severe damage in northwestern Sequoyah County.

Meteorologist Dan Smith with the weather service's Lincoln, Illinois, office says crews had confirmed 23 tornado touchdowns across central Illinois by Monday afternoon. There have been no reported deaths; however, at least one injury was reported as critical. Damage surveys for the two tornadoes are ongoing but officials said dozens of homes were damaged. Its path was intermittent and mostly caused damage to trees and to some structures.

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