Photo Essay

  • Chuck Phillips looks out at the destruction that tore off part of his roof and left houses around him destroyed after a tornado left a path of devastation through the north end of Pekin, Ill., on Nov. 17, 2013.
  • A resident of Washington, Ill., surveys the damage to her home and neighbors after a tornado and severe thunderstorms swept through a portion of the town on Nov. 17, 2013.
  • Josh Ramsey recovers items from a house of a family friend after a tornado left a path of devastation through the north end of Pekin, Ill., on Nov. 17, 2013.
  • Residents search through a neighborhood in Washington, Ill., after a tornado and strong thunderstorms swept through the north part of the town destroying several homes on Nov. 17, 2013.
  • Paul Tubbs of Washington, Ill., looks over the remains of his home on Devon Lane in Washington after a tornado tore through the north part of Washington on Nov. 17, 2013.
  • Residents embrace after they discovered their home was destroyed when a tornado and thunderstorms tore through a portion of Washington, Ill., on Nov. 17, 2013.
  • A stuffed bear sits on a road in Brookport, Ill., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013
  • A firefighter searches through debris after a tornado struck on Nov. 17, 2013 in Washington, Ill.
  • Debris covers the area after a tornado struck on November 17, 2013 in Washington, Ill.
  • Debris is strewn in a tree Washington, Ill., early Monday morning, Nov. 18, 2013, after a tornado leveled hundreds of homes in the city the day before.
  • A vehicle sits on a pile of debris from the destruction caused by a tornado that touched down in Washington, Ill., Nov. 17, 2013.
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Multiple tornadoes rip through Midwest

Multiple tornadoes tore through at least 12 mostly Midwestern states and killed eight people after unusually late-season thunderstorms brought high winds over the weekend. Additionally, more individuals are suffering from storm-related injuries and are being treated in hospitals across the region.

Six of the fatalities were reported in Illinois, with two additional deaths from the storms in Michigan.

Thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, people were left without electricity, and roads were blocked from fallen trees and power lines. The storms originated from rising moist air in the Gulf of Mexico that met a dynamic storm system with high wind speeds coming from the West, said Nick Wiltgen, a digital meteorologist for Weather.com.

Illinois, Indiana, and western Kentucky were in the epicenter of the outbreak. Illinois experienced the deadliest November group of storms on record, breaking the previous holder from 1864 when five people died in a single tornado, he said.

The other affected states were Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Survey crews began on Monday determining the exact number of tornadoes that touched down in the region. At least one confirmed funnel tore through northern Michigan Monday morning, Wiltgen said.

“But it was certainly a significant number for November,” he told msnbc.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday morning declared a state disaster area, which makes available various resources that can assist affected areas to respond and recover from the storms.

“When something very dangerous and difficult happens, we’re all in this together,” he said during a press conference on Monday. “Our state government is going to respond with every asset we have to make sure that these communities are able to recover.”

HOW TO HELP

The Salvation Army activated Emergency Disaster Services response teams and equipment throughout the affected states. To make a donation in support of those impacted by the disaster, click here, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or text “SAnow” to 80888 to make a $10 contribution.

The American Red Cross will provide shelter, food, and supplies across five states. Give $10 by texting “redcross” to 90999.

The “Washington, Ill., Tornado Recovery” Facebook page gained more than 158,000 supporters by Monday evening.

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