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A ferocious November severe weather outbreak pounded the Midwest on Sunday, bringing violent tornadoes, howling winds and heavy rain. Weather officials are urging Midwestern residents to continue to be prepared as a powerful, rapidly moving storm system roared across the region through the afternoon and evening.

National Weather Service officials confirmed several tornadoes touched down in Illinois, including one near East Peoria in central Illinois. No immediate injuries have been reported. Photos from the area showed devastating damage, however.

"This is a very dangerous situation," Russell Schneider, director of the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center, told the Associated Press. "Approximately 53 million in 10 states are at significant risk for thunderstorms and tornadoes."

The Weather Channel says major cities including Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Nashville, and Louisville, Ky., remained at the highest risk for severe weather.

The NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field was suspended due to the severe weather.

Severe weather forced play to be stopped and fans were evacuated from the field seating bowl with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter the game.

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The initial evacuation came at 1:31 p.m. ET. Five minutes later, referee Gene Steratore announced play would be "temporarily suspended" and both teams left the field. The game was restarted after a nearly two-hour delay.

Earlier Sunday, the National Weather Service issued a "high risk" alert of severe weather for eastern Illinois, Indiana, western Ohio and far southwest lower Michigan, with conditions favorable for a tornado outbreak and widespread damaging winds. About 18 million people live within the "high risk" area.

This is the first time in decades that a "high risk" area was issued so far north in the month of November, according to meteorologist Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground.

The agency says strong winds and atmospheric instability are expected to sweep across the central Plains during the day before pushing into the Mid-Atlantic states and northeast by evening. The potential for strong and long-track tornadoes will center on the Ohio Valley and adjacent Midwestern states.

The storms are expected to diminish in intensity Sunday night into Monday, but strong wind gusts will remain possible for parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey, according to the Weather Channel.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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