A fast-moving storm system triggered multiple tornadoes on Sunday, killing at least five people and also flattening large parts of a town in Illinois as it tore across the Midwest, authorities told Reuters.
A National Weather Service (NWS) survey team confirmed preliminary EF-4 tornado damage in Washington County in southern Illinois, with winds of 166 to 200 miles (267-322 km) per hour.
A small farmhouse took a direct hit, according to the NWS survey team report. "The homestead was totally destroyed with only the foundation remaining," the NWS report said.
There were a total of 80 tornado reports, along with 358 reports of damaging winds and 40 reports of large hail, according to Rich Thompson, a lead forecaster with the weather service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
The storm moved dangerously fast, tracking eastward at 60 miles per hour (97 kph) and Thompson said the bulk of the tornado damage from the storm occurred over a period of about five hours.
"We'll still have a wind damage threat across Pennsylvania and New York into the overnight hours," Thompson said.
The town of Washington, Illinois, 145 miles (233 km) southwest of Chicago, was hit particularly hard by the tornadoes that had ripped through Indiana and Kentucky as well as Illinois and a small corner of Ohio.
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