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The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has released the following:

SPRINGFIELD — Governor JB Pritzker has activated the State Emergency Operations Center to respond to and monitor severe weather throughout the State of Illinois.  This as multiple local jurisdictions are responding to storm damage following a night of dangerous weather, including multiple unconfirmed reports of tornadoes.

Among the hardest hit areas has been Madison County where local authorities are responding to a partial collapse of a warehouse near Pontoon Beach.  Among the state agencies offering assistance are the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Public Health.  Multiple mutual aid organizations, including Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), and local volunteer organizations are also responding to the scene.

At this time, state and local authorities are urging the public to avoid the area until further notice.  Please stay clear of areas with damage and allow rescue crews time and space to do their job.

If you have friends or loved ones impacted by tonight’s storms, you are urged to send them a text message to check on their welfare.   This will save phone lines for emergencies and first responders.

Residents are also encouraged to continue monitoring weather throughout the night, as much of central and southern Illinois remains under a tornado watch through Saturday morning.  Because these storms are moving through at night, it is critical that residents always have more than one way to receive emergency alerts and notifications.

For more information about what to do before, during or after a storm, visit Ready.Illinois.gov.