Several Tornadoes rip through Central Illinois

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TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The National Weather Service says a rare wintertime tornado that struck Taylorville in central Illinois was half-a-mile-wide and stayed on the ground for at least 10 miles (16 kilometers).

Weather service meteorologist Chris Miller told The Associated Press on Sunday the agency was able to give Taylorville an advanced warning of 41 minutes that the powerful tornado was headed the community's way. The Saturday warning estimated the twister would arrive at 5:20 p.m. and it struck at 5:21 p.m.

The warning helped residents take cover and may have saved lives. Around 20 people were injured, but there were no deaths.

December tornadoes are rare.

At least 12 were reported in Illinois on Saturday. If most are confirmed as tornadoes, Miller said that would be the most tornadoes in Illinois in a December storm since Dec. 18-19, 1957, when there were 21.