It’s unclear if tornado will trigger a disaster declaration

Despite extensive damage to neighborhoods in Naperville and Woodridge caused by a tornado and gusty storms overnight Sunday, the odds aren’t good for a federal disaster declaration that secures aid, officials said.

“I think it’s unlikely that this will qualify for a federal disaster declaration,” said 11th District U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Democrat from Naperville. “Illinois is at a huge disadvantage compared to the lower population states because of the formula” used by the government.

“We’ve seen many situations where you’ll see a tornado cross over from Missouri into Illinois. It will be a federal disaster in Missouri but not in Illinois. We’re trying to fix that formula,” Foster said.

Gov. J.B. Pritkzer had not made any announcements yet about whether he would issue a disaster proclamation as of Monday evening. In a tweet, Pritzker said, “I’ve reached out to local officials in the tornado’s path to offer all available state resources to assist residents and help overcome damage. My prayers are with those who were injured or lost property.”

Foster’s remarks came during an unrelated event in Naperville with two fellow Democrats: 6th District Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove and 14th District Rep. Lauren Underwood of Naperville. The three later toured a Red Cross shelter for people displaced by the violent weather.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a governor must ask the president to declare a major disaster and confirm the situation is beyond the capability of the state.