CHAMPAIGN – The tornado that tore through Crawford County on Friday left three people dead and at least 25 homes destroyed. With windspeeds that topped 155 mph, the tornado flattened the county airport, leaving a trail of mangled planes in its wake.
Residents of the county, located about 100 miles southeast of Champaign, now face the daunting task of recovering and rebuilding.
Jamie Beaver, a disaster program manager with the South Central Illinois division of the American Red Cross, said spirits on the ground are remarkably high.
“It’s a small community. And these are the kinds of folks that pull together and help one another,” Beaver said. “They’re very resilient.”
The county was under a boil order on Tuesday and the Red Cross was on hand to dole out bottled water. Beaver said they also had a supply of rakes, tarps, and other materials to help residents clean up after the massive storm.
But Beaver cautioned that Crawford County isn’t out of the woods yet, as more severe weather is forecast for Wednesday. She said residents should remain vigilant and prepared.
“Be aware of the weather. Make sure you have a kit ready so you can take it to your safe spot. Make sure your phones are charged,” Beaver said.
In the meantime, Beaver said donations toward relief efforts in Crawford County can be made at on the Red Cross website or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
The Crawford County Treasurer is also accepting donations.