MADISON COUNTY, Ill. – The start of the workweek brings a different type of labor after this weekend’s tornado in Madison County.
“It was super windy,” said Holly Shepherd, who experienced the tornado in Saint Jacob Saturday evening. “And then it just went calm after that and started to rain. So we walked outside and, sure enough, that’s when we saw all the shingles in my yard.”
Shepherd said she and her children took shelter in their basement for the duration of the storm.
FOX 2 found similar damage to the Tri Ford dealership in Highland.
“I didn’t look up at the roof,” said Eric Rehkemper, president of the dealership. “I looked at the door that was blown in on the side. Then I realized I could see the sky through the door.”
The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 twister touched down in Saint Jacob just before 7:10 p.m. Saturday, carving a 5.3-mile path toward Highland.
“The very beginning of the path, it really is what we would term ‘minor damage’ in the grand scheme of things,” said Melissa Mainhart, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “Obviously, it’s not minor to the people who experienced it.”
After the initial touchdown in Saint Jacob, the rotation strengthened, with winds reaching 90 mph, which created extensive damage in Highland.
The small communities rallied quickly for the cleanup.
“I do believe the small-town atmosphere really helps,” Rehkemper said. “Ya have people’s names and numbers and we reciprocate with each other.”