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November 19, 2013

Disaster Areas Declared After Tornadoes Rip Through Midwest


An outbreak of tornadoes blasted the Midwest over the weekend, leaving at least eight people dead and leveling entire neighborhoods.

The most powerful tornado cut a path roughly an eight-of-a-mile wide through Washington, Illinois, a town of 16,000 people, destroying or damaging up to 500 homes with 200 mph winds.

“We love our neighbors, and we’re going to bounce back from this,” said Washington Mayor Gary Manier. “And I want to thank the surrounding communities that have reached out in droves of people. We looked like a parking lot last night, so many people trying to get into our community to help us. And we had to finally shut the community down and say, no more. We can’t have any more help.”

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn ultimately declared disasters in seven counties.

“It’s very, very important that at this time, we finish our search-and-rescue efforts all across our state to make sure there is no one in harm’s away,” he said. “But, upon completion of that, our mission now is to recover. And we will recover. We will prevail over these — these tornadoes.”

Warm up questions
  1. What conditions are necessary for tornadoes to occur?
  2. Where do tornadoes typically hit? Why do you think those locations are particularly at risk?
  3. Why are tornadoes so deadly?
  4. What is the Enhanced Fujita scale?
Discussion questions
  1. What can be done to prepare for and to help people survive tornadoes?
  2. What steps are taken after a tornado by the local and state government?
  3. What do you think about the recent devastating weather across the globe? What can we do to help people who have been affected?
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