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Central Illinois Communities Ravaged by Tornadoes

In the late morning of Sunday, November 17th, a series of storms swept through most of the Midwestern US. These storms have since gone on record as creating one of the top 5 worst November tornado outbreaks in US history. November 17th also has been recorded as the worst day for tornadoes in 2013.

Excel Foundry & Machine is located just southwest of Pekin in the heart of Central Illinois, a typical Midwestern town of around 34,000. Northeast of Pekin lies Washington, a smaller town of just over 15,000 residents, just 30 minutes away.

Both Pekin and Washington suffered direct hits from separate tornadoes on Sunday morning (in addition to other communities in Illinois), but Washington was hit far, far worse. Where a few northern neighborhoods of Pekin went through severe destruction, entire swaths of Washington aren’t just damaged, they no longer exist. It has been reported that 1,000 homes in Washington and 200 homes in Pekin were destroyed. Washington’s EF4 tornado was the first EF4 November tornado to touch down in Illinois since 1957.

Here are some details about the two tornadoes that ravaged our communities:

Pekin, IL – This was the first tornado of the entire outbreak, striking at 10:52 a.m.

  • Rating: EF2 with estimated winds up to 120 mph
  • Path Width: Up to 100 yards
  • Path Length: Across the west and north sides of the city
  • Casualties: 10 people injured, possibly up to 200 homes destroyed

Washington, IL – Formed from the same parent cell as the Pekin tornado.

  • Rating: EF4 with estimated peak winds up to 190 mph
  • Path Width: One-half mile
  • Path Length: 46.2 miles over 48 minutes from 10:59 a.m. near East Peoria to 11:47 a.m. near Long Point
  • Casualties: 1 killed, 122 injured, possibly up to 1000 homes destroyed

To have a storm system of this speed and magnitude race through residential communities on a busy Sunday morning with so few fatalities is quite amazing. Most of Excel’s employees came out of this storm unaffected physically, but without a doubt, everyone at Excel and in our community was affected emotionally on Sunday.

Excel does have two displaced employee families because of the Washington tornado. Support circles have gone into full effect, and without delay, our Central Illinois community has pulled together to get those affected back on their feet and into normalcy again. Three other employees experienced significant damage to their homes, but they were not forced to live elsewhere.

Many of our vendors, customers, distributors, and friends of the company have expressed a desire to contribute to the tornado relief for our affected families. If you would like to contribute to our displaced families’ rebuilding efforts, please send a check with “Tornado Relief” in the memo to:

Excel Foundry & Machine
Attn: Tornado Relief
P.O. Box 400
Pekin, IL 61555-0400

*Weather stats and statements courtesy of Weather.com

Footage of the Tornado 

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Photos provided by Fred Zwicky, Peoria Journal Star. To see more, follow the below link:
More Central Illinois Tornado Images

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