Southern Illinois city remembers devastating tornado

The people in Harrisburg, Illinois are all too familiar with sever weather.

Three years ago, a tornado hit the community, killing eight people.

But Harrisburg rebuilt and recovered.

Now, people there share a sense of community and a passion for preparedness.

Now, Charlie Will can enjoy lunch in peace, but even his favorite, quaint cafe, Will remembers the chaos of three years ago.

“What struck me was the utter fragmentation. Everything was so splintered and tore up,” said Will.

Emergency Management Director Allen Ninness says storm prep protocol has not changed, but the intensity in which he follows it has.

“The things that you were doing in the past, you do with more vigor and more zest. You definitely want those lessons learned to really bare weight in the future,” said Ninness.

For Will, that means reviewing his severe weather plan.

“Inside room that is bounded on one side by concrete wall. So we always head for that room when the weather looks threatening,” said Will.

Ninness says awareness is the difference between life and death.

“People wait until the ‘watch’ has been turned into a ‘warning’ before they do anything. ‘Warning’ means it’s happening now,” said Ninness.

Will has seen what real aftermath looks like and knows a tornado does not wait on you.

“We know now, that when they’re on the way, you better be ready,” said Will.

Saline County Emergency Management is hosting a National Weather Service Storm Spotter Training seminar on Wednesday March 4th at 6pm at Southeastern Illinois College.

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