The National Weather Service received 22 reports of tornadoes in the state, and offices in Lincoln, Ill. and St. Louis, Mo. have sent out survey teams to affected areas to determine a count on how many tornadoes broke out across the state.
A tornado hit Taylorville around 5:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service and local law enforcement. That was the most tornadoes in IL during a December storm since a Dec. 18-19, 1957, outbreak produced 21, Smith said Monday afternoon. IL averages 47 tornadoes annually, usually peaking in May, but a strong cold front set up "the flawless conditions" for Saturday's blitz, says CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.
Sitting about 25 miles southeast of the state capital of Springfield, the Christian County town of Taylorville was among the hardest hit areas, with major damage to at least 100 buildings reported. Around 20 people were injured, but there were no deaths. He said it was an odd time of year for tornadoes in IL, and added that it was in part due to the "unseasonably warm and humid weather". "It all goes out to the folks right here in our community".
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. Most were discharged within hours. It could take several more days to know for sure.
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Up to three other tornadoes are being investigated in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas.
Meteorologists in Arkansas have confirmed that at least three tornadoes developed from severe thunderstorms on Friday night. It was rated an EF2.
Early Saturday a third tornado with estimated peak winds of 107 mph travelled about 8.5 miles (13.5 kilometres) through Spring Hill in southwest Arkansas. Its path was intermittent and mostly caused damage to trees and to some structures.