At Least 500 Homes Sustained Damage In Taylorville Tornado

Dec 3, 2018

The tornado approaching Taylorville Sat. Dec. 1, 2018
Credit Robert Wolfe

A survey of destruction in Taylorville shows a Saturday tornado left 100 homes destroyed or with severe damage.  The survey, which included the areas of the town that took less of a direct hit, determined another 400 homes damaged, but habitable.  

That's according to the National Weather Service. 

The tornado had a maximum width of one-half mile, traveled 11 miles and had top winds speed of 155 miles per hour, classifying it as an EF-3 on a rating scale.      

While there were injuries, no deaths were reported.   Cleanup continues in Taylorville.   The public schools canceled classes Monday, but plan to be open Tuesday.   A 9 p.m. curfew is in place for the next few days. 

Local officials say those wishing to help can donate to the local Red Cross and the Taylorville Food Pantry.  Cash donations are being requested.  

Governor Bruce Rauner Monday declared Taylorville and Christian County a disaster area.  The designation makes a variety of state resources available to help with recovery efforts.  

Saturday’s outbreak is the largest on record for the state in the month of December.  Experts say while winter tornadoes are more rare, they can occur any time of the year. 

Taylorville, with about 11,000 population, saw the most damage,  but tornadoes have also been confirmed in Schuyler, Pike, Macoupin, Montgomery, Tazewell, Fulton, McLean, McDonough, Mason and Cass counties.  

The Weather Service says in Beardstown, the water treatment plant was damaged, including 3 of the 4 wells that serve the community.   Damage also was reported at the National Guard armory and park district offices. 

A touchdown near Lewistown resulted in extensive damage to homes and a winery.