​Severe Weather – December 1, 2018

The state of Illinois continues to seek ways to support recovery efforts in Christian County after a late season tornado outbreak tore through central Illinois. On December 18, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) conducted a damage assessment in Christian County. It was determined that Christian County met the requirements for an SBA disaster declaration. With this declaration, low-interest loans are now available to homeowners, renters and businesses in Christian County, as well as the contiguous counties of Macon, Montgomery and Sangamon. A Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open at the Taylorville Fire Department from Jan 3 – Jan 17 to provide loan program information, answer loan and recovery related questions, and help you submit your disaster loan application.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Feb. 19, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Sept. 23, 2019. Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

About the Storm:

On December 1, Governor Bruce Rauner activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield to respond to severe storms, including reports of tornadoes, in central Illinois. The hardest hit area was in the City of Taylorville and neighboring Hewittville. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Lincoln reports this tornado was on the ground for more than 12-miles with wind speeds of up to 155 miles per hour, classifying it as an EF-3 tornado. The December 2018 storm now holds the record for the most tornadoes in one day in Illinois.

During the response phase of this emergency operation, several state agencies participated in a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) and were able to assist 172 households and an estimated 481 residents get back on their feet. Additional services are available to Christian County residents through the Christian County CEFS office or the American Red Cross.

Beware of Scams:

Unfortunately, victims of disasters need to watch out for scam artists, who are ready to take advantage of others’ misfortune. Residents should be wary of door-to-door solicitors who hand out flyers and promise to speed up the insurance or building permit process. Law enforcement warn residents to never pay for work that has not been done, and avoid request for large cash deposits or advance payments. Ask to see state or local permits or licenses of anyone approaching you about services related to the disaster. When possible, use established local contractors recommended by people you know and trust. Get receipts for all repair payments including cash. Do not make a check payable to a person other than the owner or the company name. Learn more about disaster scams.