Tornadoes hit upper Midwest and north Arkansas late Tuesday killing at least two people, according to reports. The weather conditions appeared to be bad in Missouri, where one of the two fatalities was recorded.
The second fatality was reportedly in Ottawa, Illinois. A man was killed after being struck by a falling tree, according to local authorities.
At least one person died in Perryville, Missouri, after a tornado hit the region. A 20-mile stretch of Interstate 55 was closed after powerful winds and thunderstorms blew about 20 vehicles away on the interstate.
Perryville is a small town of about 8,000 people, about 80 miles south of St. Louis in Missouri. Several homes were reportedly damaged after the tornado touched down. A tornado watch is in effect until early morning.
“Tough and tragic news tonight out of Perryville where there are confirmed reports of a tornado touching down. Our thoughts and prayers are with the community and those affected. State Emergency Management was monitoring severe weather in the region and was prepared to respond to any situation. We have already deployed strike teams and resources,” Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said in a statement on Facebook.
Local transportation authorities have advised travelers to avoid the area surrounding the interstate. About 1,600 people were left without power in Perry County late Tuesday, according to Steve Elsea, manager of member services for Citizens Electric Corporation, which serves the region.
“We’ve sustained major transmission and distribution damage. ... The damage has been fairly extensive,” Elsea said. “We’ve got all of our crews working through the night and have called for statewide assistance from other cooperatives.”
Several schools will be closed Wednesday due to bad weather conditions.
The American Red Cross of Southeast Missouri reportedly planned to open an emergency shelter at the Perry Park Center, 800 City Park Lane, in Perryville. According to forecasts, the weather conditions were likely to worsen after nightfall, the Associated Press reported.
Illinois’ emergency operations center was put on alert by Gov. Bruce Rauner reportedly in a bid to help with recovery efforts. Chicago was also placed under tornado watch.
People took to social media to share weather conditions in their area.
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