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Tornadoes tear through Illinois and Midwest

Tiny Fairdale, Illinois slammed by wedge twister

April 10, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner confirmed two people have died in the tiny town of Fairdale, Illinois, after a massive “wedge” tornado virtually destroyed the town. Seven people were injured and homes across the town were destroyed.

“This is unusual, not only to see in our area, it’s unusual to see in any area. There aren’t that many of these throughout the course of a year,” said CBS2 Meteorologist Ed. Curran. “Many times wedge tornadoes are very powerful, with wind speeds that get up to what we call EF4 or EF5 levels.”

Southwest of Fairdale, in Ogle County, 49 homes were damaged but no fatalities reported, officials said.

The National Weather Service confirms two tornadoes touched down during a series of powerful storms Thursday evening. One hit Rochelle, a city of 9,500 people about 25 miles south of Rockford; the other hit Fairdale, a town of about 200 people, less than 20 miles southeast of Rockford.

Rochelle was fortunate. In nearby Kirkland, debris was so thick on the roads that responders searching for trapped residents could not yet assess the damage or injuries, fire officials said.

Gov. Rauner has activated the State Incident Response Center in Springfield to make sure crews and equipment can be deployed quickly, if needed to help officials with response to the storms.

Three National Weather Service damage survey teams will be out in the area Friday to assess the magnitude of the twisters, and chart the paths of the tornadoes.

As many as 14 tornadoes were reported in the rural Midwest on Thursday. A large and dangerous twister tore across fields in Iowa. A twister touched down 70 miles outside St. Louis.

Tornadoes were reported Wednesday in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, the Storm Prediction Center said.

It could have been worse as severe tornado damage dotted a path not far from the dense populations of Chicago and Rockford—the state’s third-largest city. The tornado cut a 22-mile path through Ogle County, according to disaster management coordinator Tom Richter.

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