Ill. Storm Claims Could Top $100 Million

Springfield, Ill. Mayor Tim Davlin said the damage caused to private property during a recent violent storm that generated a pair of tornadoes could top $100 million. .

The figure stems from an informal report collected from insurance companies, according to Davlin.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has declared a state disaster in seven Illinois counties that were ravaged by a severe storm system on March 12. The most severe damage occurred in Springfield, the state capitol, where two tornadoes swept through the city and were followed by severe thunderstorms.

No deaths were reported but the storm left a five-mile path of destruction in Springfield that damaged about 1,000 homes and caused massive power outages, officials said.

The first tornado was about half a mile wide and stayed on the ground for about six minutes, the National Weather Service said. The second followed almost immediately, reaching 300 yards wide and staying on the ground about five minutes.

President Bush is expected to decide this week whether he’ll declare the city, parts of Sangamon County and elsewhere in central Illinois federal disaster areas.

City officials also are warning residents to be careful when hiring people to do cleanup and repair work.

The alert came after a Springfield man was accused of charging a 71-year-old tornado victim in the village of Jerome $575 for yard work he did not complete