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Storms sweep through Central Illinois; no damage reported in Coles County
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Storms sweep through Central Illinois; no damage reported in Coles County

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Mattoon storm

Photo of a super cell storm cloud as seen from Illinois 16/Charleston Avenue in Mattoon. 

CHARLESTON — There were no reports of damage Monday evening from a storm system that passed through Coles County and resulted in a tornado warning being issued.

County weather spotters saw cloud rotation that led to the decision to activate storm warning sirens in some areas of the county, including Charleston and Mattoon, county Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Hilgenberg said.

Hilgenberg said the National Weather Service confirmed the cloud rotation. The tornado warning was issued shortly after a severe thunderstorm warning that went out just after 8 p.m., he said.

There was another thunderstorm shortly after the one that produced the warnings but it had "backed down" and all warnings were canceled by 9 p.m., Hilgenberg said.

Crews were still checking for damage Monday night but there were no reports of any of local fire departments or other emergency agencies, he also said. There was a report of quarter-inch hail in Charleston, he said.​ 


UPDATE 9:30 P.M. A severe storm system swept across Central Illinois on Monday evening, sending several counties into shelter mode. 

The National Weather Service at Lincoln issued tornado warnings for several counties, including Coles, throughout the evening. It reported that a confirmed tornado was spotted at 6:15 p.m. near Mechanicsburg, 6:35 p.m. over Niantic and 6:42 p.m. near Harristown.

The extent of damage across the region was not immediately clear Monday night. A severe thunderstorm watch expired at 9 p.m. 

Isolated thunderstorms are possible on Tuesday, Thursday afternoon and again from Saturday afternoon through Sunday, the weather service said. The risk of severe storms is low during this time, though lightning hazards exist.


UPDATE 8:40 P.M. A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 9 p.m. for Coles and Cumberland counties.

A tornado warning for Coles County expired at 8:30 p.m. 

At 8:38 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located near Mattoon, moving east at 35 mph. Hazards included 60 mph wind gusts and quarter-sized hail. Hail damage to vehicles is expected, as well as wind damage to roofs, siding and trees. 


UPDATE 8:14 P.M. Coles County is under a tornado warning until 8:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service at Lincoln issued the warning at 8:02 p.m., when it said a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Cooks Mill, or near Mattoon, moving east at 30 mph.

The storm will be near Charleston at 8:25 p.m., the weather service said. 

Other locations impacted by this tornadic thunderstorm include Fox Ridge State Park, Bushton, Coles County Airport, Fairgrange and Coles.

Flying debris could be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes could be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows and vehicles could occur, and tree damage is likely.

Those in the path of the tornado should take cover now. Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.

Shortly before 8 p.m., the weather service had said Coles County, southwestern Edgar County and northwestern Clark County were under a severe thunderstorm warning until 9 p.m. 

In other parts of Central Illinois, tornado warnings have expired, but much of the region remains under a severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m.


UPDATE 7:20 P.M. A tornado warning is in effect for Moultrie County until 7:45 p.m., the National Weather Service at Lincoln said.

A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Bethany, 10 miles northwest of Sullivan, moving southeast at 35 mph.

Golf ball-sized hail was an additional possible hazard. The storm will be near Lovington around 7:30 p.m., Sullivan around 7:35 p.m. and Allenville around 7:45 p.m.

A tornado warning for Macon County expired at 7:15 p.m. 

Seventeen Central Illinois counties remain under a severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m.

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The National Weather Service at Lincoln said earlier that a confirmed tornado was spotted at 6:15 p.m. near Mechanicsburg, 6:35 p.m. over Niantic and 6:42 p.m. near Harristown.

It was not immediately clear what kind of damage was caused. 

Counties under the thunderstorm watch include Macon, Christian, Sangamon, DeWitt, McLean, Shelby, Logan, Menard, Champaign, Edgar, Vermilion, Coles, Moultrie, Douglas, Piatt, Morgan and Scott. 

Rains falls on the north side of Decatur Monday afternoon. UPDATES ON WEATHER CONDITIONS HERE.


UPDATE 6:45 P.M. The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued tornado warning for central Macon County until 7:15 p.m.

At 6:42 p.m., a confirmed tornado was located near Harristown, or 9 miles west of Decatur, moving east at 30 mph, the weather service said. 

The tornado will be near Harristown around 6:45 p.m., Decatur around 6:50 p.m. and Mount Zion and Long Creek around 7:05 p.m., the weather service said. 

Other locations impacted by this tornadic thunderstorm include Boody, Elwin, Hervey City, Decatur Airport and Oakley.

Flying debris could be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes could be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows and vehicles could occur, and tree damage is likely. 

Those in the path of the tornado should take cover now. Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.


UPDATE 6:40 P.M. The National Weather Service said a confirmed tornado was located at 6:35 p.m. over Niantic, 11 miles west of Decatur, moving east at 35 mph.

The weather service said a tornado warning for the following areas remains in until 6:45 p.m.

  • Southeastern Logan County;
  • North central Christian County;
  • Northeastern Sangamon County;
  • Southwestern Macon County.

ORIGINAL STORY 6:25 P.M. The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued tornado warning for the following areas until 6:45 p.m.

  • Southeastern Logan County;
  • North central Christian County;
  • Northeastern Sangamon County;
  • Southwestern Macon County.

The weather service said a confirmed tornado was located at 6:15 p.m. near Mechanicsburg, 15 miles east of Springfield, moving east at 35 mph.

The tornado will be near Illiopolis and Mount Auburn around 6:25 p.m., Niantic around 6:35 p.m. and Harristown around 6:40 p.m. 

Other locations impacted by this tornadic thunderstorm include Buffalo and Dawson. This includes Interstate 72 between mile markers 112 and 132.

Golf ball-sized hail is another hazard of the storm, the weather service said. 

Flying debris could be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes could be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows and vehicles could occur, and tree damage is likely. 

Those in the path of the tornado should take cover now. Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.


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