Cleanup and repairs are still going on five months after tornadoes struck two central Illinois towns.
Fayette County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Kendra Cray says debris removal has been the biggest challenge in Brownstown and St. Elmo after last November's tornadoes.
Cray tells the Effingham Daily News that her office has been working to educate residents as tornado seasons returns. She says they're starting efforts with children because "if we can prepare them, they prepare the parents."
St. Elmo has about 1,400 residents and Brownstown has about 750. The towns are about 80 miles east of St. Louis.
The strong line of thunderstorms that sped through the St. Louis area Thursday afternoon spawned a tornado in central Illinois, about 50 west of Springfield.
Emergency Services officials in Cass and Morgan Counties had reported the twister just before 3 p.m.
Morgan County Sheriff Randy Duvendack says the storm caused no damage.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Ted Nugent is the latest artist to join the lineup for a benefit concert that will raise money for victims of the Illinois tornadoes.
The Pantagraph in Bloomington reports the 64-year-old Michigan rocker will perform at the "Rock to the Rescue" concert on Dec. 4. The concert will be at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.
Other artists already announced include Richard Marx, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Survivor and Larry the Cable Guy.
Styx guitarist James Young and REO Speedwagon guitarist and singer Kevin Cronin are both Illinois natives.
Tickets are on sale and cost between $28 and $58.
The National Weather Service says two dozen tornadoes hit the state on Nov. 17, killing six people. More than 2,400 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Storms that swept across the Midwest left at least six people dead and unleashed powerful winds that flattened neighborhoods, flipped over cars and uprooted trees.
The National Weather Service has confirmed preliminary EF-4 tornado damage about 50 miles east of St. Louis near New Minden, Illinois -- where two people were killed.
Washington, a town of 16,000 about 170 miles north of St. Louis, appeared to have the most severe damage. State Trooper Dustin Pierce says the tornado there cut a path about an eighth of a mile wide from one side of town to the other. Entire blocks of Washington were leveled. One person was killed. The National Guard has been called in to police the damaged neighborhoods.
Three others died in Massac County in far southern Illinois.
It wasn't tornadoes, but straight line winds that brought down trees and power lines on the Missouri side of the St. Louis metro area.
Two empty buildings reportedly toppled in the City of St. Louis.
In Wentzville, Heritage Primary Elementary school will open Monday, despite having parts of its roof blown off. The students will reportedly be moved to different classrooms.
The wind is being blamed for several interstate accidents, including one involving an overturned semi that closed the Poplar Street Bridge for several hours and an eight-car pile up along the I-70 depressed section downtown.
Crews are still working to clear downed trees, power lines and other debris from some St. Louis area roads. Drivers are urged to use caution this morning as traffic signals remain out at some intersections and some streets may still be littered with debris.
The power is still out for many in the St. Louis area as well. At the height of the storm, Ameren was reporting more than 50,000 metro-area customers were affected. Ameren opened an emergency operations center Sunday afternoon and crews have been working all day to restore power.
At 3:00 a.m, more than 6,700 Ameren Missouri customers and just over 2,500 metro-east customers were still in the dark.
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - An organization that formed after a May 2011 tornado destroyed parts of Joplin is celebrating the opening of its 100th home in the southwest Missouri city.
Rebuild Joplin held a ribbon-cutting Tuesday at the home of Ron and Margaret Campbell, whose house was damaged during the tornado. The couple had begun repairs but did not have the money to complete them.
The Joplin Globe reports Rebuild Joplin began as a website after the tornado to connect people with resources. It eventually began construction projects using volunteer labor. Since November 2011, the organization has completed 47 new constructions and 53 home repairs.
Chad Carson, executive director of Rebuild Joplin, says the organization is still trying to find people who need help to recover from the tornado.
MOORE, Okla. (AP) - Nearly three months after a twister blasted through Moore, Okla., and destroyed two elementary schools, students are going back to class.
And although many families are ready to return to a familiar routine, parents and teachers say many children in the Oklahoma City suburb have fears that are still fresh and a lot more healing to do.
One young girl is so afraid of the wind that she carries headphones to block out the noise. Other kids are traumatized by memories of their narrow escape and friends who died just a few feet away from them.
Classes resume Friday in temporary buildings until Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary are rebuilt. The May 20 tornado killed 24 people and wrecked scores of homes and businesses.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Governor Jay Nixon is requesting a federal major disaster declaration for severe storms that struck Missouri from May 29th to June 10th.
The storms included one that spawned a tornado in the St. Louis area and others that caused widespread flooding.
Nixon's request Wednesday is for public assistance to 30 counties statewide from Barton County on the border with Kansas to St. Louis County. The governor also is requesting individual assistance for Callaway, Lincoln, Montgomery, Osage, Pike, St. Charles and St. Louis counties.
Public assistance allows local officials to seek aid for response and recovery efforts. Individual assistance allows households to seek federal aid for uninsured losses.
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The National Weather Service says the deadly tornado that struck near Oklahoma City late last week was another top-of-the-scale EF5 that packed winds reaching 295 mph. The weather service also says the twister's 2.6-mile width is the widest ever recorded.
The weather service initially rated the Friday tornado that hit El Reno as an EF3. But the agency upgraded the ranking Tuesday after surveying damage. Eighteen people were killed in the tornado and subsequent flooding in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.
The weather services says the El Reno tornado tops a 2.5-mile wide tornado that hit Hallam, Neb.
The update means the Oklahoma City area has seen two of the extremely rare EF5 tornadoes in less than a month. The other hit Moore on May 20, killing 24 people.