Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes Sweep Across Midwest

Approximately 53 million people across 10 states are at risk

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Nathan Weber for TIME

The debris field from a tornado which wiped out a neighborhood in the town of Washington, Ill., causing at least 6 fatalities and injuring more than 30 others on Nov. 18, 2013.

Updated on Nov. 18, 11:39 a.m. E.T.: The death toll from the severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that cut through the Midwest on Sunday has risen from six to seven people, according to the Associated Press. 

Several central Illinois communities suffered destruction from severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that blanketed much of the Midwest on Sunday. At least five people were killed in the storms, according to officials speaking to the Associated Press.

A tornado touched down near East Peoria, Ill., just before 11 a.m., but reports of damages and injuries were not immediately clear, according to weather-service officials. Tornado sightings appeared within an hour in Washington, Metamora, Morton, Lasalle County and other communities, while the National Weather Service reported torrential rains, golf-ball-size hail and high winds of up to 80 to 90 m.p.h. as the storms swept through the Great Plains. Tornado warnings continued through Sunday for areas of Indiana and Michigan.

Washington, Ill.

Nathan Weber for TIME

A panorama shot of the devastation in Washington, Ill.

It was unclear whether it was one or several tornadoes moving through the region, but social-media reports reveal mass destruction in the affected areas.

Approximately 53 million people across 10 states are at risk, including those in parts of Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio.

In nearby Chicago, NFL officials delayed the Chicago Bears game and evacuated the stands to take precaution as storms continued. High gusts of wind continue to whip through Chicago, but the area has since been cleared of tornado warnings, according to the Weather Channel.

[AP]


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