The City of Harrisburg, Illinois is under a dusk-to-dawn curfew after a devastating F4 tornado struck the city at 4:56 am Wednesday. The city of 10,000 looks like a war zone, with destruction all around. The tornado carved a path through the city, starting in the southwest part of Harrisburg.
Many residents had to be rescued by emergency services, while six city residents lost their lives in the early morning twister. The names of those who lost their lives have not been released yet, pending identification and notification of family members. Ten people died total overnight from the storms that struck southern Illinois.
Mayor Eric Gregg said at an afternoon press conference, the city is receiving help on the ground from local and state resources. The city may be down now, but will rebuild itself.
An estimated 250 to 300 homes are damaged and 25 businesses destroyed or damaged. Video from Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX showed several homes and business destroyed. Authorities have opened a shelter at the First Baptist Church on North Main Street.
Police Chief Bob Smith announced the dusk-to-dawn curfew was to protect life and property and aid in recovery efforts. Two command centers have been established in and around Harrisburg to coordinate manpower and equipment for relief efforts. Work permits will be issued by the city to aid in recovery and reconstruction and will be available to residents and approved vendors at the local Rural King. The work permits are free of charge to residents and vendors.
Smith also added that law enforcement will be 24/7 and last for as long as needed to protect citizens, property and aid in recovery efforts.
City officials are working with relief, local, state and federal agencies to coordinate logistics of donated relief items and money.