April 25, 2003 at 11:19 PM CDT - Updated June 20 at 1:21 PM
Heartland Hailstorm Pounds Jefferson County By: Arnold Wyrick
(Bonnie, IL)--They started out the size of a nickel, and they just kept getting bigger and bigger, until the hailstones were larger then golf balls, as the storm roared across Nason and Bonnie in Southern Jefferson County. Folks ran for cover when the towns tornado sirens began signaling the approaching storm. " It started hailing, we didn't think nothing of it. And then all of a sudden it just started coming down," says Mayor Kenneth Kash of Bonnie. At the time he and his granddaughter were shearing sheep for her upcoming 4-H competition. They never finished, and instead ran for a safe place in the barn. " I told her lets get underneath the loft. So if the hailstones comes through the roof, it won't come through that. But it sounded like they were coming through the roof," Kash said. But Kash wasn't able to save his truck from the frozen ice chunks pummeling his pickup truck. " I think if that would've hit you in the head, it would've hurt," Kash said as he gazed into his hand, where a hailstone the size of a tea cup rested. But this hailstone was covered with icy sharp spikes surrounding its solid center. The storm moved East from Kash's farm in Nason towards his home in Bonnie. Where the towns tornado siren was signaling the approaching danger. Betty Ruston was walking her dog when she heard thunder and headed towards her home. "It didn't really look that bad. But 30 seconds after we got inside the hail started," says Ruston. " It started out the size of a nickel and just got bigger and bigger. It sounded like balls hitting the side of the house. It was really loud," Ruston said. Luckily nobody was injured in the hailstorm, but some homes and autos were damaged.