A series of storms and tornadoes ripped through our part of the country last night. Air raid sirens blaring, loudspeakers issuing warnings this is not a test, go to the lowest room in your home. Our downstairs neighbor came up to ask us if we wanted to come down. We declined, since DW’s knees would cause her great pain. We watched the local channel for several hours as they tracked the storms on radar.
A massive twister formed near Ashton, IL, about 35 miles southwest of us. It cut a swath of devastation across at least six counties as it headed northwest. Patrons at The Grubsteakers Restaurant in Rochelle took shelter in the basement as the building was flattened. The tiny community of Fairdale, just some 20 miles away, was a total loss. There are about 100 people who live there, and it’s a small community on Illinois Hwy 72 with a gas station, church and tavern. I’ve been through there many times.
We sat watching the news with candles and flashlights at the ready until the all-clear was given about 9PM. Fortunately, we came through intact. We called the kids to make sure everybody was OK, then gave thanks that we were all safe. I left for work at 1:30 this morning and there was still a steady drizzle driven by 30 MPH winds. Friday being trash pickup day, my route was an obstacle course of garbage bags, trash containers and sundry other debris. The air hung heavy with the smell of dew worms, which always come out when it rains. I used to pick them up and sell them for .25/doz for the money to send my sister and I to church camp back in the day.
The UK Mail online has a lot of pictures of the havoc that the storms caused last night:
Path of destruction: Stark aerial photographs show how Illinois town was leveled by deadly tornado that tore through the Midwest
Tornado which touched down Thursday destroyed 17 buildings – a third of the total – in tiny Fairdale, Illlinois
Geraldine M Schultz, 67, was killed in her home by the storm, while eight people were also injured
14 people sheltering in a restaurant basement in nearby Rochelle were trapped when the eatery collapsed
Six Illinois counties were ravaged by two separate tornadoes – officials are currently assessing the damage
Roofless homes, overturned cars, tattered flags and streets flooded with debris could be seen Friday morning
More than 900 flights at Chicago O’Hare International Airport were scrapped due to the bad weather
Meteorologists expect severe weather to swing east today, where thunderstorms are due from New York to Texas
THE X’S ARE AN INDICATION A BUILDING OR VEHICLE HAS BEEN SEARCHED FOR SURVIVORS
THIS WAS I-39,A MAJOR NORTH-SOUTH FREEWAY THAT THE TORNADO CROSSED