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Fast-moving killer storm, tornadoes batter Midwest

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CHICAGO (Reuters) — A fast-moving storm system triggered multiple tornadoes in Illinois and Indiana on Sunday, killing at least two people, injuring about 40 and flattening large parts of the city of Washington, Ill. as it crashed across the Midwest, officials said.

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The storm created tornadoes in Bone Gap and Miller City, Ill., in Mount Carmel, Noblesville and Vincennes in Ind., and in Paducah, Ky., the National Weather Service said.

The storm also forced the Chicago Bears to halt their game against the Baltimore Ravens and encourage fans at Soldier Field to seek shelter as the storm roared in. Chicago’s two major airports also briefly stopped traffic while the metropolitan area was under a tornado watch.

The city of Washington, Ill., was hit hard by what the National Weather Service called a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado.

Thirty-one people injured by the storm that hit Washington were being treated at St. Francis Medical Center, one of the main hospitals in nearby Peoria, according to hospital spokeswoman Amy Paul. Eight had traumatic injuries.

Two people were killed in Washington County, Ill., about 200 miles south of Peoria, said Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson. The agency estimated that at least 70 homes were destroyed across the state.

Stephen Wilson, a spokesman for Peoria’s Proctor Hospital, said six or seven patients were being treated with minor injuries. “Mostly cuts, bruises, some broken bones,” he said.

Photos from Washington, Ill., showed buildings reduced to rubble and homes torn in half in the city of 15,000 people some 145 miles southwest of Chicago.

“We have reports of homes being flattened, roofs being torn off,” Sara Sparkman, a spokeswoman for the health department of Tazewell County, Ill., where Washington is located, said in a telephone interview. “We have actual whole neighborhoods being demolished by the storm.”

Sparkman said the storm also had caused damage in Washington and Pekin, south of Peoria.

Many of the injuries appeared to have been caused by collapsing structures.

ted tornadoes in Bone Gap and Miller City, Ill., in Mount Carmel, Noblesville and Vincennes in Ind., and in Paducah, Ky., the National Weather Service said.

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