(This post was last updated at 5:16 p.m. ET.)
A line of storms moving through the country’s midsection has already produced a few damaging tornadoes and the National Weather Service predicts that major severe weather could break out as the system moves east.
“Numerous fast-moving thunderstorms, capable of producing strong tornadoes along with widespread damaging winds and large hail, will move across portions of the middle Mississippi and Ohio Valley region and the southern Great Lakes region for the remainder of today into this evening,” the Weather Service reports.
In Illinois, a series of tornadoes raked the outskirts of Peoria. Washington, Ill. has so far been the hardest hit with reports of entire blocks of homes leveled.
Images show a landscape of fallen trees and homes reduced to rubble.
The Peoria Journal Star reports that dozens are injured and the national guard and rescue teams are on the scene. Jonathon E. Monken, the director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, tells CNN that the storms have killed at least five people in his state.
We’ll update this post through the afternoon, so hit refresh to see the latest.
Update at 4:47 p.m. ET. 109 Tornado Warnings:
Just how large and wide has this storm system cut? Over the course of the day, the Weather Service has issued 109 tornado warnings, which should give you an idea.
Update at 4:02 p.m. ET. Entire Blocks Destroyed:
Alex Rusciano, of NPR member station WCBU, tells our Newscast unit that the tornado that tore through Washington, Ill., destroyed entire blocks of homes.
Rusciano spoke to Susan Newton, who lives in one of the hard-hit neighborhoods.
“We have neighbors that have lost their entire home, and last night we were at a dinner party at friends of ours, and their home is gone,” Newton told him. “Gone. There’s nothing left.”
Update at 3:21 p.m. ET. Game Will Resume:
The game at soldier field will resume in a few minutes. The National Weather Service Chicago says that there are no tornado or severe weather warnings in effect, but the potential for hazardous weather still exists.
Update at 2:52 p.m. ET. Game At Soldier Field Suspended:
With the line of severe weather about to move through Chicago, the game at Soldier Field between the Bears and the Ravens, has been suspended. The fans at the stadium were told to leave the seating area and move to a covered concourse.
“The National Weather Service reports that a confirmed tornado was on the ground near Coal City on the Grundy County-Will County line. It was moving northeast at 55 m.p.h. That tornado, described as ‘large and extremely dangerous,’ was also seen near Wilmington.
“The agency described the situation as ‘particularly dangerous’ and ‘life threatening’ while asking people to ‘take cover now.’
“‘We’re very concerned,’ weather service meteorologist Gino Izzi said earlier. ‘We’re definitely stressing that this is not your run-of-the-mill tornado watch.'”
Update at 2:48 p.m. ET. The Damage Near Peoria:
Marcus Bailey, the chief meteorologist for WMBD-TV in central Illinois, has been tweeting about the situation around Peoria.
He tweeted this photograph of Washington, Ill., just across the lake from Peoria:
The Peoria Journal Star reports that a couple of tornadoes have touched down. One in Washington, the other in Pekin. It’s unclear what the extend of the damage is, but the paper reports:
“Authorities erected a shelter at Cherry Tree Shopping Center, and those injured were being taken to the Washington Fire Department.
“Georgetown Commons apartment complex was severely damaged and other areas were hit hard. Authorities were doing a house-to-house search.
“U.S. Route 24 at Cummings Lane was being shut down. And other parts of the city were being evacuated.”
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