WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - The National Weather Service is calling an EF-1 tornado that occurred around 4:30pm Friday in West Frankfort the most powerful of the three tornadoes to tear through Illinois on Friday.
EF-1 is the second weakest rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is widely used to measure tornado intensity based on debris, damage intensity, and rotation patterns.
The twister did manage to tear much of the roof off of the Bacon Family home in West Frankfort, as well as drop debris over much of the surrounding area.
It also took out a few power lines, and caused a “low-threat” gas leak according to Ameren first responders who had the leak contained by 10pm Friday.
NWS meteorologists didn't classify or confirm any tornadoes in the region until they were able to physically survey the damage on Saturday.
“Clearly tornado damage that we see here.” explained surveyor Rick Shanklien, “a lot of circulation, a lot of things blown in different directions. You can clearly see the path it took.”
Shanklien said the storm seemed to cause more damage than he would have guessed it was capable of, based on radar and model observations taken from off-site.
“As far as the individual storm, no, it was very weak circulation associated with it, so I'm surprised.” Shanklien explained, “But we had tornado advisories issued left and right yesterday, so this damage just goes to show how important it is to take cover when you have the chance.”
The two women and three small children, including a one-year-old child all endured the storm with no injuries after taking refuge in the home's basement.
Saturday, the group was out recovering what belongings they could from their house.
Friends and Neighbors helped with the effort, including Will Sisk Sr., who found a place to securely store the family's belongings as they plan their next moves.
“That's a bad deal, you know, so I'm just glad that I could help them.” Sisk explained on Saturday, “In the midst of all of this, I never had any damage anywhere, and it really made me count my blessings as to what it could have been.”
The family is insured.