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Tornado Reported In Central Illinois

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Other Tornadoes Prove Deadly In Missouri, Arkansas

PETERSBURG, Ill. (CBS) – Authorities say nearly two dozen homes in central Illinois were damaged after a possible tornado touchdown in downstate Menard County.

County Sheriff Chuck Jones says one woman was injured when a tree or branches fell on her car Friday. Her injuries weren’t believed to be life threatening.

Petersburg, Ill., Mayor John Stiltz tells WTAX in Springfield that at least two homes were a total loss.

Authorities said there was also damage to vehicles, downed power lines and uprooted trees.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Smith says the possible tornado touched down near Petersburg. He says damage to homes around Lake Petersburg was also reported.

Petersburg is a community of about 2,200 around 20 miles northwest of Springfield.

Weather officials issued tornado watches and warnings for several central and southern Illinois counties.

The clash of a cold front with the unseasonably warm weather Chicago has seen Friday produced tornadoes that proved deadly in some areas.

In the tiny town of Cincinnati, Ark., at least six people were killed and several more were injured.

Washington County, Ark., Sheriff Tim Helder says deputies and medical personnel discovered an elderly couple, 88-year-old Gerald Dean Wilson and 78-year-old Mamie Wilson, dead in their home on Highway 59 North, CBS News reported.

Emergency personnel also found James Richard Murray, 78, dead inside a dairy barn nearby. Officials believe Murray had been milking cows when the suspected tornado hit.

Dispatcher Josh Howerton told the Associated Press that the storm caused damage along State Highway 59 in downtown Cincinnati and through most of the western portion of Washington County. He says there are “lots of injuries,” CBS News reported.

Cincinnati is located near the Oklahoma state line, about 20 miles west of Fayetteville.

Three people also died from a tornado in Missouri.

Phelps County, Mo., Emergency Management Director Sandy North said one of the Missouri women was killed Friday morning when her home about a mile north of Rolla was destroyed by the storm. North says six others were injured in the county, including one critically. She said about 20 homes have been destroyed or seriously damaged.

Closer to Chicago, a tornado watch was issued for a while Friday for Kankakee County, but was allowed to expire ahead of its original 7 p.m. deadline. But conditions in the skies were still volatile, with rare wintertime thunderclaps and heavy rain.

CBS News contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)