Last month, the Midwest faced 24 tornadoes within a four-hour span, two of them reaching level-four strength on the Enhanced Fujita scale, according to the Chicago Tribune. Damage spanned across 12 states, but the death toll remained at eight people, a lot of that had to do with the fact that residents received emergency text alerts.
Weather technology has made it easier for meteorologists to determine the path of impending weather a lot sooner than they used to, but last month's unexpected change of events was due to abnormally warm weather in parts of the Chicago area. The storm occurred on Sunday, November 17, but confirmation about such conditions was found on November 16.
"We're very concerned," weather service meteorologist Gino Izzi told the Tribune. "We're definitely stressing that this is not your run-of-the-mill tornado watch."
In Washington, Illinois, which is about 140 miles from Chicago, residents were aware about the storm Sunday morning. According to Fox News, this area was one of the harder-hit areas during the tornado, destroying 500 homes.
David Bennett, a pastor at one of the churches in town, heard about "two dozen phones" going off at the same time. When the message stated a twister was in the area, all parishioners relocated to a safe area. If it wasn't for the effectiveness of this platform of communication, results could have been much worse for Washington and others.
"That's got to be connected," Bennett told Fox News. "The ability to get instant information."