Leap Day Storms 2012

(UPI/Steve Jahnke /The Southern)

Harrisburg and other southern Illinois communities affected by a deadly tornado in February are getting up to $13 million in state and Small Business Administration aid.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office announced Monday that the help includes reimbursements to local governments for some of their disaster-related expenses and road improvements. The aid also involves grants for home repairs and low-interest loans to storm-affected businesses.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied the state's appeal for assistance after a deadly tornado and severe storms.

Quinn said in a Wednesday news release that he is disappointed with the decision and doesn't believe "it reflects the reality and devastation on the ground."

UPI/Paul Newton/The Southern

Illinois will get the chance to convince the federal government to reverse denial of aid to southern Illinois homeowners socked by last month's deadly tornados.

(via Missouri Department of Transportation)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he's disappointed that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied a request to provide disaster aid to residents in 18 southern and northern Missouri counties recently hit by violent weather.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency's denial of assistance to homeowners affected by the southern Illinois tornado.

Quinn issued a statement Monday saying he informed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano of his decision.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin and other lawmakers plan to meet with FEMA Director Craig Fugate on Wednesday to challenge the decision.

(UPI/Steve Jahnke /The Southern)

Authorities in southern Illinois say a seventh person has died from injuries suffered in the EF-4 tornado that slammed into the town of Harrisburg on Feb. 29.

Saline County coroner Doug Watson says 70-year-old Donald Smith, a retired coal miner from Harrisburg, died Wednesday night at a hospital in Indiana. Smith's wife remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Most of the victims, including the Smiths, lived along a street that took the brunt of the storm, which authorities say was 200 yards wide and packed sustained winds of 170 miles per hour.



(UPI/Ryan Dean)

Mo. governor Jay Nixon is seeking federal assistance for 18 Missouri counties hit by last week's violent storms.

Nixon said Wednesday he has requested a federal major disaster declaration for parts of southern and northern Missouri struck by tornadoes, hail and high winds on Feb. 28 and 29. The weather was blamed for three deaths, dozens of injuries and widespread property damage.

Rules for disposing of fallen trees, limbs and other vegetative waste have been relaxed in tornado-damaged areas of Missouri.

From now through March 15th, Missouri residents affected by the Leap Day storms can burn vegetative waste on their properties, as long as it’s done 200 yards away from the nearest occupied structure.  Renee Bungart is with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

(UPI/Caleb Cattivera)

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says her office will prioritize paying state bills accrued after a tornado tore through the city of Harrisburg, leaving six people dead.

Topinka said Thursday that her office will work with businesses impacted by Wednesday's severe weather. She says the state will prioritize payments to businesses committed to clean-up and recovery efforts in Saline County.

(via Missouri Department of Transportation)

If you have photos of the storms in Harrisburg, Ill. or Branson, Mo., please email web producer Kelsey Proud at kproud@stlpublicradio.org.

Updated 4:22 p.m. with National Weather Service map:

Here's a map released by the National Weather Service of the path of the tornado that roared through Branson. You can track the path of the storm as it gained speed:

(UPI/Caleb Cattivera)

Nixon declares state of emergency for severe storms, possible tornadoes hit southwestern Mo., southern Ill.; at least four confirmed dead