SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today declared Clay, Johnson, Pope, Saline and Union counties disaster areas as a result of tornadoes and thunderstorms that moved through the southern tip of Illinois on Saturday, April 27, which resulted in one death and 7 injuries. Initial reports indicate that this severe weather system destroyed 16 homes, and caused major damage to 33 homes and minor damage to 107 homes. The tornadoes and thunderstorms caused heavy damage to Flora in Clay County, Cypress in Johnson County, Golconda in Pope County, Galatia in Saline County and Dongola in Union County. Damage occurred to homes, businesses, farms, local roads and other properties throughout the five-county area. These storms also left a trail of downed power lines, power outages and debris.
“For the second time in less than a week, Illinois has been hit by devastating tornadoes and thunderstorms that caused two deaths, multiple injuries and extensive damage,” Governor Ryan said. “This disaster declaration will speed up recovery efforts in these five counties and authorize state agencies to help with their clean-up efforts.”
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is coordinating the state’s response in these communities. Assistance is being provided by the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the American Red Cross.
This declaration also makes it possible for damage assessments to be conducted to determine if additional assistance is necessary.