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If most are confirmed as tornadoes, Miller said that would be the most tornadoes in IL in a December storm since Dec. 18-19, 1957, when there were 21. May is the peak month, with an average of 15 tornadoes.

"This is the biggest December outbreak in IL since 1957", he said.

The twisters occurred Saturday evening along the Illinois River and near Springfield, Meteorologist Chris Geelhart said.

The National Weather Service received reports of 22 tornadoes, all in central IL on Saturday, while offices in Lincoln, Ill., and St. Louis, began to conduct storm surveys on Sunday to confirm their track and intensity.

"Power lines are down", Rauner said. That tornado traveled about 7 miles (11 kilometers) just past the town of Gore.

The weather service said Sunday that a strong tornado that developed from severe thunderstorms Friday night touched down in Van Buren, Arkansas.

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Severe thunderstorms also raked IL and Missouri on Saturday.

More than 1,300 homes are without power after destructive tornadoes swept through the South and Midwest and injured at least 20 people. The owner says that about 200 cars were damaged in both of the garages and shed.

Taylorville Memorial Hospital reported 21 patients sustained storm-related injuries and one patient was critically injured. Most were discharged within hours.

The National Weather Service sent out survey teams Sunday to analyze the damage, and said the exact number of tornadoes and the amount of damage wouldn't be determined until these are completed. Several agencies report to the operations center, including the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Department of Public Health and the American Red Cross.

"It was one of those storms that just blew up", Christian County sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp told reporters on Saturday.


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