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Caught on tape: EF-3 tornado hits Girard

1:26 PM, Apr 20, 2011   |    comments
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Girard, Ill (KSDK) -- The National Weather Service said an EF-3 tornado touched down near Girard, Illinois.

The average width of the tornado was 100 yards, but did reach 200 yards wide.  It touched down about 1.5 miles west, northwest of Girard to about 1.8 miles east, northeast of town.

The National Weather Service said it is still evaluating the exact path.  The most extensive deamage was found east, northeast of Girard.

Branden Tibbs said his brother shot video of the tornado on the ground that was uploaded to the KSDK Facebook page.

The storm knocked out power to thousands, downed trees and power lines and damaged 12 homes and destroyed five additional homes.

Girard's Chief of Police said a family of three-including two adults and a child had to be rescued from the basement of their home, after a tornado leveled the brick structure.

Girard tornado damage - PHOTOS

When they came out of the basement, they saw part of their home was wrapped around a tree and few walls were still standing.

The family managed to make it out unharmed.

James Talkington said he watched the funnel touch down around 6:00 p.m.  He and his wife were crouched in a ditch-covered in water with his wife on the phone.

"It's like standing next to a train going past you," Talkington said.

When it was all over, he was surrounded by downed power lines, snapped trees and on idea of how bad it really was.

"This is the worst damage in my 30 years in this community," Talkington said.

Eleven miles of Interstate 55 was closed in both direction between Litchfield and Hillsboro, after Illinois State Police said several power lines fell onto Interstate 55. Ameren crews worked to fix the problem, while troopers directed traffic off the interstate in Montgomery County.   It was reopened by Wednesday morning.

Officials in Montgomery and Macoupin said there were no reports of any fatalities.

KSDK

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