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Comptroller: Ill. will prioritize tornado-related bills

(UPI/Caleb Cattivera)
Severe weather destroyed a Shopping Center in Harrisburg, Ill. on Feb. 29, 2012.

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.

The announcement comes as the state of Illinois has a roughly $8 billion backlog of unpaid bills.

The National Weather Service listed the Harrisburg tornado as an EF4, the second-highest rating given to twisters based on damage.

Scientists said it was 200 yards wide with winds up to 170 mph. It left about 100 people injured.

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