The National Weather Service has confirmed reports of an EF-2 tornado a few miles southeast of Vandalia, Illinois Tuesday afternoon.

An EF-2 classification means the storm's winds were at least 111 miles per hour when it passed through that area at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday evening.

The tornado tore the roof and wall off of a home and collapsed a garage, but families who lived in the path of the tornado rushed to the basement moments before it hit, so they were unharmed.

Experts say the tornado was narrow, compact and strong, meaning when it touched down, it did a lot of damage but the amount wasn't widespread.

So far, three homes in the area are confirmed to be severely damaged. Despite the hardship, homeowners say they thank God for their safety and community support.

"We had about 40 people out here last night. Helping us get furniture out and box stuff up. The support of our neighbors and the support of our church family and the people we work with has just been wonderful," said Gene Schwarm.

NWS says there wasn't a tornado warning issued ahead of the storm because it spun so quickly on their radar that by the time they'd have issued the warning, the severe weather would've already reached another county.

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