BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — DANVILLE — Vermilion County is among 15 counties the state has asked be declared major disaster areas, opening up the opportunity for federal funds to assist in the recovery from recent tornadoes.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made the request on Monday after state and federal emergency management agency personnel as well as local officials assessed damage in the counties hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes.
A total of 24 tornadoes descended upon various parts of central Illinois as part of a storm front that plowed through the area. Two tornadoes were reported in Vermilion County — an EF-2 storm that left a trail of damage between Sidell and Westville and an EF-3 storm that entered the county near Armstrong and exited near East Lynn.
The southern storm has resulted in at least $4.3 million in damage, according to EMA officials last week.
In addition to Vermilion County, Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties are also included.
Overall, the teams identified 2,441 homes across the 15 counties that were damaged, including 781 homes that were destroyed. The teams completed their assessments in less than four days.
Representatives from IEMA and FEMA will meet with local government officials beginning in early December to document expenses related to the tornadoes and storms, including emergency protective measures, debris removal and repair or replacement of roads, bridges and other public facilities. That information could be used to support a request for federal assistance to help state and local governments recoup a portion of eligible tornado-related expenses.