Tornadoes Cause Damage, Close Roads in Central, Northern Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Tornadoes touched down across a wide swath of central and northern Illinois on Tuesday, flipping over big-rig trucks and destroying homes. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were hurt.
Six tractor-trailer rigs and nearly a dozen cars overturned on Interstate 55, south of Springfield, said state police Lt. Mike Beagles. No motorists were reported hurt, he said.
In Salisbury, a mobile home was overturned. People were hurt, authorities said, but they didn’t know how badly or how many.
Some homes and possibly a school building were damaged in Cantrall, about 10 miles north of Springfield.
State troopers closed the northbound lanes of I-55 north of Springfield and were turning traffic back toward the central Illinois city.
As many as five tornadoes may have been on the ground at once, said Mark Metzger, a dispatcher with the Menard County Sheriff’s Department. At least six homes in a subdivision south of Athens were reported destroyed.
``We have multiple completely destroyed houses. Utility poles are down. Power lines are down,″ Metzger said.
A gas leak and fire were reported at an elementary school but classes were not in session at the time.
John Mitchell, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said tornadoes touched down in a six-county area covering hundreds of square miles in central and northern Illinois.
``We do have some overturned vehicles, trees down, lines down,″ in all of the counties, he said.