The Heat Is Online

Illinois Hit By 25 Tornadoes

Two dozen twisters damage Illinois, May 31, 2003

(CNN) -- A wave of tornadoes swept through central and northern Illinois Friday evening, damaging homes, businesses, powerlines and trees in several communities.

The National Weather Service counted 25 tornado sightings over several hours in Illinois, including from suburbs south of Chicago. The heaviest damage however appeared to be in the central Illinois county of DeWitt.

"It came out of nowhere," said Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokesman Scott Gauvin.

Three businesses and several homes were "totally destroyed" but no one died when Clinton, the county seat for DeWitt, was slammed by a tornado Friday evening.

Debbie Shull, an employee in the DeWitt County Emergency Services office, said a southern section of Clinton was hard hit as was the small town of Hallville, 10 miles west of Clinton. No serious injuries or deaths were reported anywhere in DeWitt County, she said.

Several buildings, an apartment complex and a few homes suffered roof damage in Joliet, Illinois, a southwestern suburb of Chicago when a funnel cloud raked a three-block section of the town, Joliet Police Commander Keith Turmey said. No one was hurt by the storm, Turmey said.

Roof damage and downed trees were also left behind by an apparent tornado touchdown nearby in Lockport, Illinois.