At least four people have been killed in a series of tornadoes that swept through several states in the Midwest on Sunday. Houses were torn to shreds as dozens of twisters ripped through the region, with the city of Washington, Ill., becoming one of the worst-hit areas after experiencing what the National Weather Service called a "large and extremely dangerous" tornado. Photos of the wreckage show cars overturned and homes, which once stood tall, reduced to nothing but pieces of woods scattered across the ground.
It was reported that nearly 53 million residents in 10 Midwest states were at risk from the severe weather, which caused officials to evacuate the stands and delay the Bears game at Chicago's Soldier Field.
“The whole neighborhood's gone. The wall of my fireplace is all that is left of my house," Michael Perdun, from the hard-hit city of Washington, told The Weather Channel. His neighborhood was torn apart in seconds. "I stepped outside and I heard it coming. My daughter was already in the basement, so I ran downstairs and grabbed her, crouched in the laundry room and all of a sudden I could see daylight up the stairway and my house was gone."
Thirty-seven people were rushed to a local hospital in Washington, with several experiencing trauma. According to TWC weather expert Dr. Greg Forbes, the tornado was at least an EF3.
The National Weather Service said an EF4 tornado struck the town of New Minden, Ill., where an elderly man and his sister were killed. Another death was reported in Brookport, Ill. Southwestern Chicago was hit with an EF2 tornado.
In Illinois, approximately 83,000 people were without power Sunday night and hundreds of homes had been damaged. Schools will not open Monday in Kokomo -- the hardest hit town in Indiana. Twelve counties in that state have reported storm damage or tornado touchdowns, TWC said. There have been at least 37,000 outages reported in Missouri, most of which are in the St. Louis area. No injuries were reported in Wisconsin, but damaged buildings and numerous downed trees were reported there.
Twitter users took to the social media site Sunday evening to share their condolences to those who were affected by the tornadoes.
Positive thoughts going out to the Midwest tonight. I've never experienced a tornado. They seem terrifying. I'll take CA earthquakes instead
— CJL (@seajlim) November 18, 2013
Thoughts & prayers to everyone in the Midwest & Ohio Valley affected by the violet tornado outbreak this afternoon.
— Olivia James (@WMAZOliviaJames) November 18, 2013
Prayers are with the families of those lost in Illinois tornado. Stay safe in the Midwest!
— Travis N. Taylor (@TNT_DC) November 18, 2013
Posted below is video footage of a tornado that appeared live on television in Pontiac, Ill.: