It was a close call for Missouri, which dodged the bullet of severe weather by only a few counties Sunday.

A Washington, Illinois neighborhood immediately after the tornado. (Twitter / @AnthonyKhoury20)

A Washington, Illinois neighborhood immediately after the tornado. (Twitter / @AnthonyKhoury20)

Officials say Western Illinois residents heeded the warnings and took shelter, resulting in just a few fatalities despite the devastation caused by tornadoes early yesterday. At press time, six fatalities were confirmed. Many residents report taking shelter in their basements, only to emerge moments later to open air and daylight, their homes flattened. One person was killed in Washington, five more downstate.

Meteorologist Mark Britt with the National Weather Service in St. Louis says the deadly tornadoes could have just as easily swept Missouri, that the storms that spawned the tornadoes in neighboring Illinois started in Missouri. Britt says temperatures reached 80 degrees in some parts of the state yesterday, certainly not typical of mid-November in Missouri, and tornadoes put nearly 53 million people at risk. He says it’s a good reminder to never get complacent. Britt says late-season tornadoes are often the most damaging, and reminds Missourians of the devastating tornadoes that hit the St. Louis area on New Year’s in 2010.

He says temperatures will be back to a seasonal average of the mid 50s for the rest of the week.

Convoy of Hope, based in Springfield, is planning to go to Washington, Ill.,n and will be meeting Monday morning to work out specifics. However, having just deployed to the Philippines to provide food and fresh water for storm victims there, resources could be scarce.

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:03)