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updated: 11/21/2013 7:09 AM

15 Illinois counties get disaster declarations

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Fifteen Illinois counties now have state disaster declarations after strong weekend storms unleashed violent tornadoes.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn added Fayette and Vermilion to the list of counties getting the extra state aid.

Sunday's storms spawned at least 15 tornadoes that killed at least six people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. At least two of the tornadoes had a preliminary designation as EF-4s, the second-strongest rating.

Quinn says in a statement that officials are still tallying the damage, but expect to find that more than 1,500 home to have been damaged to destroyed.

Federal and state officials are set to meet in central Illinois on Thursday to begin preliminary damage assessments.

The disaster designation is aimed at making it easier for state resources to help hard-hit communities.

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