Coal City hit by tornado, first responders search for victims
Emergency responders in Grundy County confirm they were involved in a search for any victims after a tornado hit the town of Coal City and nearby Diamond. The Emergency Management Agency office was urging the public to stay away from the town until the full extent of the damage was assessed.
Significant damage was reported and homes and commercial businesses in the community were destroyed. The devastation has drawn scores of emergency workers from Coal City, Braidwood, Joliet, Manhattan, Plainfield, Lockport and Minooka, among others. The teams set up staging areas at the Braidwood and Coal City fire departments.
The tornado hit about 12:20 pm, according to the EMA office.
While no fatalities have been reported, there have been reports of injuries. Downed power lines are among the damage and existing threats, and with winds gusting at 50 mph.
The NWS also confirmed tornado damage in Gifford in Champaign County and in parts of Vermilion and Iroquois Counties.
The hardest hit Illinois community was Washington in Tazewell County.
Tornadoes, damaging storms sweep Midwest, five confirmed dead
CHICAGO (AP) — Intense thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the Midwest Sunday, causing damage in several central Illinois communities while sending people to their basements for shelter and even prompting officials at Soldier Field in Chicago to evacuate the stands and delay the Bears game.
The community of Washington in central Illinois appeared particularly hard hit, and a state official said that emergency crews were racing to the area amid reports that people had been trapped in buildings. But communications were spotty and Patti Thompson of the Illinois Department of Emergency Management said it was difficult to get information from the scene.
As the storm darkened downtown Chicago after noon, the Chicago Bears – Baltimore Ravens game was delayed and fans were ordered out of the stands and players led off the field.
Despite the reports of tornadoes, there were not yet any confirmed reports of injuries.
Weather service officials confirmed that a tornado touched down just before 11 a.m. near the central Illinois community of East Peoria, but authorities did not immediately have damage or injury reports. Within an hour, the weather service said that tornadoes had touched down in Washington, Metamora, Morton and other central communities, though officials could not say whether it was one tornado touching down or several. Weather officials said it was moving northeast about 60 mph.
According to agency officials, parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio are at the greatest risk of seeing tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds throughout the day Sunday. Strong winds and atmospheric instability were expected to sweep across the central Plains during the day before pushing into the mid-Atlantic states and northeast by evening. Many of the storms were expected to become supercells, with the potential to produce tornadoes, large hail and destructive winds.
In Chicago, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications issued a warning to fans attending making their way to Soldier Field to watch the Bears-Ravens game. It urged fans ''to take extra precautions and ... appropriate measures to ensure their personal safety.''
Congresswoman Robin Kelly will have a challenger in next year's election.
Eric Wallace announced in Kankakee Thursday evening that he'll be a Republican candidate the 2nd District in 2014. The district is heavily-Democrat, so Wallace knows he has an uphill battle ahead. But he said he'll focus on the south suburbs to hopefully gain the majority of votes.
Wallace, who's from Flossmoor, said the same-sex marriage vote will be a major issue in the race.
Wallace made his announcement at the Kankakee County Republican headquarters.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- An Illinois appellate court has ruled for county sheriffs who seek to restore salary cuts imposed by state lawmakers.
The Quad City Times reports the 5th District Appellate Court overturned a Franklin County judge's dismissal of a complaint that Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly failed to budget the full amount of a state stipend.
Sheriffs in 101 Illinois counties, but not Cook County, were to receive a $6,500 yearly stipend from state in addition to their county salaries. The Legislature allocated only $4,196 for each sheriff in 2010 and 2011.
Former Rock Island County Sheriff Mike Huff sued for the missing $2,304, arguing the state cannot change the salary of an elected official while they are in office.
The appeals court returned the case to Franklin County.