Weather Service: Storms sparked at least 6 Illinois twisters

January 4, 2023 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Severe weather that swept Illinois on Tuesday produced at least six tornadoes, the largest number of rare January tornadoes recorded in the state since 1989, the National Weather Service said.

Five of the tornadoes occurred in central Illinois in or around the city of Decatur, while the sixth touched down near the Ford County community of Gibson City, the weather service said Wednesday.

Staff from the agency’s Chicago office planned to survey storm damage Wednesday in the Gibson City area, where at least two homesteads suffered damage and power lines were knocked down.

The weather service had not determined the strength of Tuesday’s tornadoes by Wednesday morning.

Tuesday’s storms damaged a former bowling alley in Decatur, tearing siding off the building and leaving its parking lot strewn with debris and insulation, the (Decatur) Herald & Review reported.

Although the final number of tornadoes from Tuesday’s outbreak is not necessarily six, the weather service said the six confirmed twisters were the most tornadoes produced by a January severe weather event in Illinois since eight were recorded on Jan. 7, 1989.

The weather service said the six tornadoes were spawned by “mini supercell thunderstorms,” which are rotating thunderstorms often capable of producing severe weather.