SAINT MARY, Mo. — More than a dozen tornadoes were reported in Missouri and Illinois, many hit in the dark of night.
As night falls on St. Mary, Missouri, Hailey Schwartz can’t help but think of the sheer terror she experienced Sunday night.
“It started downpouring out of nowhere, and then it got really quiet all of a sudden just silence,” said Schwartz. “Then you started hearing stuff hitting the side of the house. It was terrifying!”
As the storm sirens sounded Schwartz took shelter in the safest place in her house: the bathroom.
“We sat on the floor and just road it out,” said Schwartz.
After the storm passed, she stuck her head outside, and the shock of what just happened started setting in.
“I was just honestly surprised that my house was still standing,” said Schwartz. “There’s just minor damage to it and everything else around me was just destroyed.”
The storm then continued across the river to Chester, Illinois, where a tornado took aim at Mark Gibbs's neighborhood.
“It didn’t sound like a freight train,” said Gibbs. “It was just loud and there was small stuff hitting the roof. When I walked outside, I was surprised to see about 5 trees down.”
He escaped major damage, but he was shocked at what his son discovered in the debris.
“We started cleaning up and he found a $10 bill folded up. We don’t know where it came from. It wasn’t ours.”
While he realizes not everybody was as fortunate, he’s willing to lend a helping hand to those hardest hit by the storm.
“I’m sorry for them,” said Gibbs. “They’ve got to clean up, go through the insurance, and it’s a hard deal.”
“The power that it can do it terrifies me,” said Schwartz. “I don’t want to go through it again.”
The National Weather Service is still working on storm surveys in the area, but at this time they believe an EF-2 tornado hit St. Mary, MO, while the damage in Chester, IL, is more consistent with an EF-1 tornado.