Midwest Pounded by Tornado-Packing Storms

March 18, 2016

The National Weather Service confirmed that on tornadoes touched down this week in parts of eastern Iowa that also endured heavy rain and hail as large as golf balls. Tornadoes also touched down at least five times in central and western Illinois during the storms, destroying homes and causing some injuries.

The storms that damaged buildings and caused minor injuries included three tornadoes that touched down in Clinton County, Iowa.

A tornado that swept through the Royal Pines Village Mobile Home Park in Clinton was classified as an EF-1 with winds reaching 90 mph. The tornado, which was on the ground for more than a mile, destroyed five mobile homes and damaged a number of others. At least three people were injured.

Clinton County Emergency Management said the damaged homes’ natural gas pipes released gas into the air. As utility workers made repairs, the park’s utilities were turned off for a time, so about 70 residents were taken to the airport for temporary shelter. Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich said all 82 park residents were accounted for Tuesday night.

Two other tornadoes touched down in the area, including one near Andover, Iowa, with winds up to 95 mph and one that hit near McCausland with winds of 85 mph.

Hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter was reported north of Grandview in Louisa County, and an inch or more of rain left standing water up to a foot deep in Lee County low spots, the weather service said.

In Illinois, tornadoes touched down near Curran, Good Hope, Trivoli, Moline and Peoria, according to the NWS. The storms passed through the state on March 16 around the time polls were closing in the Illinois primary election.

Authorities in Rock Island County, Illinois, say the tornado sent 10 people to hospitals but none had life-threatening injuries. About 40 homes were damaged and about a half-dozen were destroyed. The twister had wind speeds of up to 130 mph.

Several farms were hit by the tornado that swept through Good Hope, Prairie City and Avon. The weather service said that tornado had peak winds of 115 mph and lasted for 16 miles.

In Peoria County, a tornado ripped the roof off of the Texas United Methodist Church near Trivoli. The tornado also downed 70-year-old trees, tossed a car 50 yards into a field and knocked over headstones in the Texas Union Cemetery.

“About everything that could be knocked down got knocked down,” said Daryl Harding, president of the cemetery association.

In the Springfield area, one young family escaped when a tornado destroyed their home in New Berlin.

“We’ll all be ok,” John Thompson said after he, his wife, and their 1-year-old son survived.

Weather service forecasters said hail was common and they received nearly 60 reports of quarter-size hail or larger.

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