Biden declares federal disaster after tornadoes tear up Illinois

President Joe Biden has declared a federal disaster, freeing up resources for recovery efforts after this weekend's deadly tornado outbreak.

Tornadoes were reported in at least 11 states from the Deep South to the Northeast.

Illinois was particularly hard hit.

In Boone County, winds were clocked in at 90 miles per hour on Friday night when the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere partially collapsed, killing one person.

At least three more deaths have been confirmed in the central part of Illinois.


On Monday morning, the National Weather Service increased the number of confirmed tornadoes in the Chicago area from 12 to 16.

Governor JB Pritzker signed a disaster proclamation over the weekend to send help to impacted counties.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said Tuesday state officials are currently handling the response to Friday's severe weather.

"At this time, the state of Illinois has not requested federal assistance from FEMA; however, our team continues to work with state and local officials to collect damage assessments and impacts resulting from those storms," said Cassie Kohn, a public affairs specialist with FEMA.

Further south, four people were killed after an EF3 tornado hit the town of Wynne, Arkansas, destroying homes and businesses and causing major infrastructure damage.

People there now say they're focused on the recovery process.

There is more storm activity in the forecast for Tuesday.