National Weather Service surveying Galatia tornado damage


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins
Web Editor - Mason Stevenson

GALATIA, Ill. - A team of meteorologists with the National Weather Service spent the day in Galatia, Illinois to get a first hand look at the destruction caused by Tuesday night's storm, and they determined an "EF2" tornado touched down.

The National Weather Service's lead forecaster told Local 6 tje tornado packed 115 mile per hour winds that seriously injured two people.  The twister damaged 20 homes and destroyed 5 others along a one mile stretch between North Park Street and East of McKinley Street in Galatia, Illinois, in Saline County.

The tornado left a lot of people homeless.  Families are scattered, trying to get much needed rest after being up all night Tuesday and cleaning up the mess all day Wednesday.  Everyone's thankful to simply have a roof over their head but there's still a lot of uncertainty about the future.

One thing folks living in Galatia, Illinois do know for sure; it was a tornado that touched down and tore up parts of their town.

"Once you lose the roof of a house that's what creates the force that lets air come in and blow things apart," National Weather Service lead forecaster Greg Meffert said.

Meffert was part of a team tasked with determining what type of storm this was, it didn't take long to figure out this was a tornado.

On and near Walker Street, structures were picked up and came crashing down on cars and anything else in their path. 

Debris can be spotted in trees, on roads and across yards.  But Galatia's Mayor remains optimistic about clean up.

"I feel pretty good that we're going to get things to normal pretty quickly," Mayor David Harrawood said.

After ripping through this road, the tornado did its final damage when it caused a garage to collapse on Reba Harrawood's 2010 Transformer Edition Camaro.

But Reba won't cry over her car, she had family on Walker Street who escaped and for now everyone who lived here knows they're lucky to be alive.

"You can replace materialistic things but a life, you can't," Reba said.

The Mayor of Galatia told Local 6 the tornado only damaged two city properties; a barn being used as a garage, and a city vehicle parked inside that barn. 

There's a fundraiser for the Galatia Tornado victims Friday at 6 o'clock at "Bobbie Joe's Restaurant" in Galatia, Illinois.