Last Updated: July 28, 2016 Heartwarming stories are popping up in the aftermath of the EF4 tornado that hit two northern Illinois communities 80 miles west of Chicago on April 9 — and hit with such force that it blew debris up to 116 miles away, leaving tornado victims all across the land. The single long track tornado carried winds up to 280 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
This above ground safe room at a destroyed home on SW 147th St. in Moore, OK, is still standing after taking the impact of the May 20, 2013, EF5 tornado. In the background is the remains of Briarwood Elementary School. Thursday, May 30, 2013, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman
Reunions and generosity to Tornado Victims
One man was reunited with his dog after losing his wife and his home to the half-mile-wide twister. She was one of two women — friends and neighbors in the tiny farming town of Fairdale — who died in the storm that ravaged property in a 20-mile path. A grandmother whose second floor was ripped off her house was reunited with a precious memento after the storm — a diamond necklace she bought after her retirement. Her granddaughter found it in a pile of debris.
The Chicago Cubs collected donations to help storm victims at their April 14 game. One chain restaurant, Culver’s, said it would donate 10 percent of sales on April 15 to tornado relief efforts. An online fundraiser collected more than $50,000 for the damaged family-owned farm and zoo in Belvidere hit by the storm. And donations of clothing, shoes, household items and thousands of dollars poured in to help Fairdale storm victims — so many that officials said they no longer needed food or clothing but could still use cash or gift cards.
Rescues, survivors and good advice
Almost nothing is left of Fairdale, where rescue crews searched each home twice looking for survivors. Despite the danger, one man caught on I-39 in Rochelle stayed in his truck, pulled out his iPhone and filmed the tornado as it crossed the highway, heedless of recommended safety procedures. That video is shared below. Just to show you how devastating that tornado was, it destroyed four homes in Rochelle and leveled a restaurant, leaving only rubble behind. A rescue crew worked into the night to pull a dozen people from the restaurant debris, where they had been huddled in the basement for about 90 minutes.
The Illinois tornadoes caused many to offer this advice: Now is the time to install a storm shelter at your own home because it is a necessity, not a luxury. But make sure they are FEMA-approved and tested by Texas Tech University National Wind Insitute so that your new shelter can withstand the strongest of storms.
How we can help prevent tornado victims
Survive-a-Storm Shelters offers near absolute protection with our full line of above and below ground shelters, and with affordable pricing and the many financing options we have made available to our customers, nearly anyone can afford one.
All of our FEMA-compliant Survive-a-Storm Shelters have been tried and tested and are able to withstand winds and debris from any EF5 tornado.
You can find our products inside many of The Home Depot stores in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. They even sell our units on their website at www.homedepot.com. So come check us out on the web at www.survive-a-storm.com or call 888-360-1492.