Storm Claims Illinois Lives, Causes Damage Across Indiana

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[Picture of the Washington, IL tornado that was reported within the storm moving towards NW Indiana. Courtesy: WHAS11Kristin]

November 17, 2013 — A stormy weather system is leaving damage in the Greater Chicago area, while leaving casualties nearby.

Officials say they have confirmed that the death toll has climbed to five after a string of tornadoes that hit central and southern Illinois.

Patti Thompson of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency says the latest two deaths occurred Sunday in Massac County in far southern Illinois.

Officials confirmed earlier that one person died in the central Illinois community of Washington, shown in photo, where a tornado destroyed several blocks of houses.

Also, the county coroner in Washington County in southern Illinois said that two people died in the town of New Minden, about 50 miles southeast of St. Louis.  The victims were an elderly man and his sister who died when a tornado struck their farm house.

In Chicago, the National Football League game at Memorial Stadium, where the Chicago Bears hosted the Baltimore Ravens, sustained a two-hour weather delay due to stormy conditions.

In the Region, storms blew down power lines, tree limbs, and damaged a building at Youche Country Club in Crown Point.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence will see for himself how today’s storms affected communities across the state.

Pence told The Associated Press he plans to visit the hardest-hit communities of Kokomo, Lafayette and Washington tomorrow.  All three suffered significant property damage, and several injuries were reported in Kokomo.

Pence says it’s too soon to say whether the state will seek disaster assistance.

The governor praised the work of emergency responders, community leaders and residents who heeded warnings throughout the fast-moving storms.

Pence says he’s grateful no one died in Indiana and that his heart goes out to storm victims in Illinois.  However, at least three Hoosiers are reported injured from today’s severe thunderstorms.

City Development Specialist David Tharp says Kokomo experienced multiple minor injuries there.

Grant County Emergency Management Director Bruce Bender says one person was injured when two or three mobile homes rolled over at the Summit Village Trailer Park.  Bender says four homes have been damaged, including two extensively between Marion and the town of Sweetser.

Lakeshore Public Media changed its annual holiday gift auction dates, suspending today’s start to the on-air fundraising gift auction while the community’s focus remains on larger public safety issues and power outages in the greater Chicago area.  The auction is set to start tomorrow for the three-night event during prime time on Lakeshore Public Television.

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