ALTAMONT — Monty Reeder of St. Elmo didn't know what he would be seeing when he exited his basement following the high winds that struck Fayette and Effingham counties Sunday.
What he saw was surprising. Eighty-year-old birch trees around his home had been ripped out of the ground, tops of other trees had been cleaved off and thrown more than 100 feet into the brush and pieces of unrecognizable plastic siding were scattered across his lawn.
Now, it's time to clean up.
"It was all gone in about two minutes," Reeder said as he picked up small scattered branches from the yard of his home just north of St. Elmo. "I didn't know all this was down until we came out."
While the National Weather Service has not confirmed whether the storms spotted around St. Elmo and Altamont were a tornado, the Effingham County Sheriff's Department confirmed one tornado northwest of Altamont, just east of Illinois 128. The department reports the twister moved northeast, blowing over trees, damaging houses and destroying one barn, causing it to fall on cattle.
Fayette County deputies were dispatched to the St. Elmo and Brownstown areas at around 12:15 p.m. Sunday to help after blown-out power lines fell over roads, delaying traffic and leaving some without power. No injuries have been reported as a result of the storm.
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For more on the storm damage, see Monday's print edition
For more photos, click on http://effinghamdailynews.smugmug.com/Nature/Storm-damage-Nov-2013