Rare December tornadoes reported in central US; 1 dead

Franklin County EMA assisting Central Illinois with tornado recovery efforts

Surprise Tornado Blitz Strikes Central Illinois, Injuring at Least 30

The National Weather Service says at least 23 tornadoes touched down Saturday in IL, making the outbreak the state's largest on record for December.

Around 30 people were injured, at least 21 were sent to the hospital with few suffering from critical head injuries, but there were no deaths.

Taylorville Fire Department Chief Mike Crews said at a press conference no one was killed, and he couldn't comment on the number of injured.

"We activated the State Emergency Operations Center so that we could closely monitor the situation, keep in contact with local officials and quickly mobilize any state assets that may be needed", Rauner said in a statement. Several people who were trapped in their homes were eventually rescued, he said.

According to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar, Illinois has an average of 47 tornadoes per year, not including December, which Chinchar explained does not have its own average. The town received a 41-minute advance warning from the National Weather Service.

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"Almost everything set up for the flawless conditions" for the outbreak, Chinchar said, as a strong cold front pushed through.

The National Weather Service said Sunday that a strong tornado touched down in Van Buren, Arkansas, about 130 miles (212 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock. She said a tornado mainly went through the countryside, but "I know of one house that had major damage".

The National Weather Service reportedly deployed teams on Sunday to assess the damage and measure the strength of the twisters.

In Georgia, an apparent tornado hit Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay on Sunday, according to public affairs officer Scott Bassett.

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