The tornado as viewed at the corner of Cedar and Persimmon Tree right behind Flying M Ranch which was hard hit by the storm. Video by Jeremy York and Photo by Michael Rink.
A tornado touchdowns between Irvington and Wamac. Photo from video shot by Tanya Deboer.
Storm damage to a building near Hoyleton. Photo by Eric Kelly.
Workers inspect a severely damaged home near the Flying M Ranch
New Minden tornado shortly after its formation about 1 mile west of new Minden just south of route 177. Photo by Wally Holm.
Two Now Reported Dead From New Minden TornadoThe Washington County Coroner says two people were killed when a tornado hit their farm home leaving nothing but the foundation just outside of New Minden in northern Washington County during the noon hour on Sunday. Mark Styninger identified the victims as 80-year-old Joseph Hoy and his 78-year-old sister Frances Hoy. Joseph Hoy's body was found in a field about 100 yards east of his home. Frances Hoy was found under rubble. She was taken to the Washington County Hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
The storm that struck New Minden was part of a series of intense thunderstorms and tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday, killing a total of six people and causing extensive damage in several Illinois communities. Three deaths are now being reported in Brookport in deep Southern Illinois along the Ohio River and one death in Washington, a city near Peoria in North Central Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn will spend the day visiting hard hit communities, ending the trip at 6:30 Monday night when he is at 15538 State Route 127 in New Minden.
The National Weather Service has given a preliminary rating of EF-4 for the tornado that hit the Hoy's farmhouse. The peak wind was placed at 166 miles per hour. The storm had a path of at least three miles. The weather service says the worst damage discovered so far has been west of New Minden, where the Hoy's small farm sustained a direct hit. The outbuildings and barns sustained varying degrees of damage, but the homestead was totally destroyed with only the foundation remaining. The results are only preliminary because only a portion of the entire track has been examined.
In addition to New Minden, there was considerable damage on the north side of Hoyleton and just southwest of Centralia. A man was airlifted to a St. Louis Hospital after a severe injury he sustained during the storm at the Flying M Ranch on the Southwest side of Centralia. Davis Mathis, one of the owners of the ranch, was outside during the storm and apparently was hit in the hand by a piece of sheet metal, breaking his arm and cutting his hand. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The Flying M Ranch Clubhouse, mini-golf course, and driving range were completely destroyed. Several homes in the area were damaged, including one home that was almost completely destroyed. There have also been reports of minor injuries in the Noltings Road, Hoffman Road and Sycamore Road area north of Route 177. Several farms reportedly received damage and a new home north of Hoyleton was severely damaged with only the foundation remaining. Powerlines were also reportedly down across West Tenth Street road west of Wamac.
Further west, a semi in the eastbound lanes of I-64 three miles west of Nashville was blown over. Traffic was being diverted off of I-64 at Okawville on Route 177 until the truck could be removed.
As the storm continued into the Centralia area and south of Salem the storm appears to have lost some of its intensity and no additional reports were made of tornado damage. In Marion County, some trees along Lois Lane near the County Farm Road southeast of Salem had their tops removed by the storm. The Old U.S. 51 Underpass near Junction City flooded, with one car being towed out. In Salem, one tree was reported down at Shelby and Hill Streets. There were also reports of a few downed power lines. The westside of Salem received ping pong size hail, while golf ball size hail was reported near Alma.
There was also a report of a tornado touchdown on the Jamestown Road two miles south of Jamestown in Clinton County from another storm that was part of the same system. The Clinton County Sheriff's Department reports some damage to barns and sheds but no injuries.
In Fayette County, a tornado was reported in the St. Elmo area. Southwestern Electric Co-op spokesman Joe Richardson says at least one tornado had snapped utility poles and brought down several spans of wire. At one point 2,260 customers were without power. By late last night, that number was down to 50 members all in Fayette and Effingham Counties. In Effingham County, there was also a report of a tornado, with damage to several homes on the north side of Altamont.
The city of Washington, a town of 16,000 near Peoria appeared to have the most severe damage. State Trooper Dustin Pierce says the tornado there cut a path about an eighth of a mile wide from one side of town to the other. Entire blocks of Washington were leveled. The Illinois National Guard dispatched 10 firefighters to search for survivors. A news release by the National Guard reported that people were trapped in buildings after Sunday's severe weather.
Click here to see the entire photo gallery of the tornado activity in Washington County.
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Police Beat for Saturday, February 28th, 2015