Forecasts, Warnings Saved Hundreds of Lives From Brutal Tornadoes

WASHINGTON, Ill. — Midwest residents are crediting forecasts, television and radio warnings, text message alerts and storm sirens with helping to spare the lives of numerous individuals as violent thunderstorms and tornadoes spread throughout 12 states on Sunday.

There have been only eight deaths since the tornado cut through Washington, Ill., and damaged or destroyed as many as 500 homes. Other states, including parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and western New York were affected by heavy weather, the Associated Press reports.

As many as 600 to 700 people were in church services when they received text messages from the National Weather Service cautioning that a twister was in the area. Many were able to seek shelter until the threat passed.

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