Governor Pat Quinn is asking President Obama to declare five southern Illinois counties major disaster areas so that local residents and businesses affected by recent tornadoes can receive federal aid. Federal assistance is being sought for Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union and Williamson counties. In Saline County, six people killed when a tornado swept through Harrisburg. The National Weather Service has given the tornado an EF4 rating, the second-highest rating given to twisters. The rating is assigned to storms based on damage they cause. In Wednesday's request, Quinn said the state needs federal aid to help communities damaged by the February 29th storms can recover. If the federal government grant's Quinn's request, residents and businesses in the affect counties can apply for grants and low-interest Small Business Administration loans.
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