CENTRAL ILLINOIS (KMOV.com) -- The National Weather Service of St. Louis toured damaged areas in Central Illinois Sunday morning to determine the strength of the tornado that touched down their Saturday.
It was a morning of clean up and assessment after reports of tornadoes in parts of Macoupin and Montgomery counties. Siding and roofs from buildings were scattered along interstate 55 in Mount Olive and Staunton, Illinois.
A Staunton, Illinois family had an optimistic perspective after a tornado ripped through their home Saturday night.
“Houses can be replaced, people can’t,” said Stephanie Stevenson, the daughter of the homeowner.
Stevenson and her family are counting their blessings. Stevenson’s mother was driving to meet her for dinner at the time the damage happened, so no one was home at the time it took place.
Neighbors and friends came by Sunday morning to help clean up the yard and repair what they could of the house.
“Very typical, this is how this community is, we always bond together,” Stevenson said. “If there's trouble, death in the family, anything, we're always there to help each other.”
Another Sunday morning visitor to the home came to determine the strength of the tornado that damaged their house. Jim Sieveking, with the National Weather Service of St. Louis, said the resulting damage can be used to determine the wind strength.
Damage was reported in areas of Montgomery and Macoupin counties in Illinois as strong storms that contained tornado warnings moved through the area Saturday afternoon.
“It looks like this is where the tornado actually started,” Sieveking said. “So if it doesn’t hit anything, then it’s simply an EF0 and then we just go up from there based on damage indicators.”
After assessing the Stevenson home as well as the damage to the west at Country Classic Car Dealership, the National Weather Service believes an EF1 tornado came through the Central Illinois area Saturday.
“I was expecting a lot more damage to be honest with you, with the amount of debris that was in the air, so at this point it looks like a 100 mph tornado hit it,” Sieveking said.
The tornado was a 1 on a scale of 5, with 5 being the worst but that doesn't minimize the impact this storm had on the area
“Even a weak tornado can make your house completely unlivable,” Sieveking said.
The Stevenson family is already making new plans for the holidays.
“She's going to be misplaced until the roof gets fixed because they won't give her power until the roof gets fixed,” Stevenson said. “My guess is Christmas will not be at home. It will not be here this year.”
The National Weather Service said there were a reported 22 tornadoes in Central Illinois on Saturday.