A tornado reportedly touched down in southeastern Illinois, knocking down trees and damaging numerous homes and other buildings, a police chief said Friday.
People told Mount Carmel police they saw a tornado sweep through as a storm cut across the city's south side about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, leaving behind overturned trailers and sheds, downed trees and power lines, and several damaged homes, said police Chief Mike McWilliams.
“There’s extensive damage to homes, even the ones that weren’t physically moved. There’s damage to their roofs, that sort of thing," he said, adding that officials were still assessing how many homes were damaged.
McWilliams said the local hospital reported no injuries from the storm in Mount Carmel, which has more than 7,000 residents and is the Wabash County seat.
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He said initial reports relayed to the National Weather Service that the city's high school was damaged by the storm were incorrect and staff at the school reported it was in good shape.
A team from the National Weather Service’s Paducah, Kentucky, office will travel to Mount Carmel on Friday to assess storm damage after the reported tornado touchdown, said meteorologist Dan Spaeth.
He said the survey team will also investigate whether the suspected tornado may have also caused damage reported in Keensburg, a small Wabash County community that’s a few miles southwest of Mount Carmel.
“We’ll get much better detail on the length, exactly where it was, the damage and how intense it may have been,” he said. “Was that continuous all the way through there? That’s what they’ll be trying to figure out.”
Spaeth said the storm may also have crossed the Wabash River into Knox County, Indiana.
The storm damage was reported after a wave of severe storms Thursday afternoon produced hail up to the size of baseballs in southeastern Illinois before another round of strong storms later swept the area.
This story has been updated to correct that Mount Carmel’s high school wasn’t damaged, based on updated information from authorities.