Southern, Central Illinois Battered by Overnight Storms, Tornadoes
Residents of southern and central Illinois were warned to batten the hatches and be ready for a round of severe weather that was moving into the region overnight Sunday and into Monday morning. The storm system spawned tornado outbreaks near St. Louis and into central Illinois with unconfirmed tornado reports around the Illinois towns ofand Schobonier, and damage in other parts around the St. Louis Metro East area.
In Troy, the and one of woman in the home suffered minor injuries. , the local Home Depot received some damage and there were reports of damage to trees, fences and business signs. Residents in Maryville reported tree damage and damage to siding and roofs in the area.
Farther south, the system brought an ominous cell straight across Missouri into southern Illinois--spawning tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings for Jackson, Perry, Union, Williamson, and Franklin counties. Residents in some areas around Franklin and Perry counties reported muddy rains from the storms that moved through the area and a reddish mud coating cars and property after the storms passed.
Ameren Illinois Utilities reported that approximately 11,700 customers in southern Illinois were without power as of 7:30 Monday morning. The majority of customers without electricity were in Madison and St. Clair counties. , Ameren reported about 25 power poles and lines down in the region.
This round of severe weather was appropriately timed as the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service kicked off Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois--running from Sunday, February 27 through Saturday, March 5. Severe Weather Preparedness week is designed to raise awareness of the local threats of severe weather--from flooding, tornados, lightning, hail and damaging winds. but four years earlier -- in 2006 -- the state saw a record-setting tornado season with over 120 tornado touchdowns. The year with the highest number of tornado-related deaths in Illinois was 1990 -- with 30 deaths.
In Illinois, the prime tornado season starts March 1 and runs through June, although tornadoes and severe weather can and does occur at any time within the state. All Illinois residents are urged to plan ahead and prepare for the possibility of severe weather -- including packing family emergency kits and having a safe and secure location to go to in the event of a tornado or severe thunderstorm.