11:13 a.m. UPDATE: Death toll now seven
(Weather Channel: Ron Blome, Washington, Ill.) – Cleanup from Sunday’s deadly Midwestern storms is underway. The storms spawned dozens of tornadoes across 12 states.
The Weather Channel’s Ron Blome gave us a report from Washington, Ill.
The death toll stands at six, officially.
They think just about everyone is accounted for in the town of Washington. There were tornadoes in seven counties in Illinois, but this was the big one. It stayed on the ground the longest, about eight miles. It did an enormous amount of destruction; 200 to 300 homes were destroyed, another 500 were heavily damaged. A huge apartment complex and 16 buildings were destroyed.
They are not letting residents in it quite yet as there are still a number of gas leaks that need sealed off. They’re hoping to let residents in later Monday to try to pick up some of the pieces.
The Red Cross is setting up shelters and aid stations.
At one point in time, power was knocked out to over 250,000 people in just Illinois. About 50,000 are still without power.
This storm was so far-reaching, that even in Chicago, the Bears-Ravens game was called off for two hours as they sent fans scurrying into the stadium to seek shelter.
The fire chief and residents we spoke to say they were amazed at just how explosive this was.
The cleanup effort is just beginning and will certainly extend through the holidays.