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Weather service confirms tornado near Coal City

Published: Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 1:08 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 3:00 p.m. CDT

COAL CITY - A tornado that touched down Sunday afternoon near Coal City has left widespread damage in the area.

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down about 12:20 p.m. near Coal City, citing law enforcement as its source. Coal City Mayor Neil Nelson has said he is trying to open Village Hall so anyone who needs assistance can head there.

Photographs shared with the Morris Daily Herald, as well as eyewitness reports, show significant damage in the Coal City area, including a building that appears to be destroyed and vehicles on their sides off a main roadway.

Sgt. Mark Simon of the Illinois Conservation Police said Christian Life Assembly Church had been damaged, and described Easy Living RV park as "devastated." There is a report of a propane leak at the RV park, and it will remain evacuated until it is cleaned up.

Diamond Estates has been evacuated, Simon said, as many structures are unsafe due to the winds.

Severe damage is reported near Berta Road and Spring Road. There also is damage to the bus barn on Broadway in Coal City.

Nick Doerfler, spokesman for Coal City's fire department, said the county's emergency management agency has requested assistance from other emergency services in the state. There are reports of injuries, he said, but no numbers at this time as to how many.

Authorities are asking everyone to stay in their residences and off the roadways so emergency crews can work, he said. There are reports of many power lines being down, and ComEd is working on those.

The tornado also produced quarter-sized hail. The report from the weather service noted that damages to roofs, windows and vehicles was likely, and that flying debris could be deadly to people and animals. Tree damage also is likely.

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