Was It A Tornado? Marissa, IL Cleans Up After Storm

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MARISSA, IL (KTVI) – The St. Clair County, Illinois town of Marissa was in clean up mode Friday after a powerful storm left behind a big time mess.

“It just hit all at one time.  I had never seen anything like it before,” said Marissa resident Omea Baker.

Her husband, Jerry Baker, added, “It sort of sounded like a freight train.”

Trees and limbs fell onto the Bakers’ two trucks and van.

Jerry Baker was sitting on his front porch when the storm hit, “All of a sudden I heard something and the next thing I know I’m sitting on the floor! The wind was so hard it blew me out of the chair I was sitting in! The next door neighbor’s trampoline come flying over the top of my house.”

Omea Baker added, “It’s real scary- scary enough that I ain’t done nothing but cry. It really frightened me when I went out to the dollar store. I knew it looked a little dark out, but I didn’t have no idea of something like that happening, you know.”

The Bakers live right by the Marissa city park which took the worst damage from the storm. Trees, limbs and power poles were all toppled over.

James Hinman was right outside his back door near the park, “It had a definitely round shape to it and debris was going around in circles around it, so with my 60 plus years of experience, that was a vortex.”

The damage wasn’t only at the city park. The fierce winds blew a tree into a home a few blocks away. The falling trees also left knocked over several fences.

Chainsaws and heavy equipment were brought in to clean up the park.

Marissa’s Mayor Jerry Cross tried to put the damage in perspective, “It’s scary, but then you look at the stuff from Moore, Oklahoma, what could have happened, this isn’t a real big problem.”

The mayor thinks the clean up could take a week.

Amidst the hard work, people are grateful that no one was hurt. “I know that God had to have his hands over us that nobody got hurt,” said Omea Baker.

Power was knocked out to the entire town of about 2,000 after the storm. By Friday morning, most all of it was back on.

Officials with the National Weather Service say they plan to visit Marissa Saturday. That’s when they will be able to make a call on whether the storm was a tornado, a microburst or just very strong winds.

RELATED STORY: Storm Damage In Marissa, Ill