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WATCH: One Year Later, Chilling Video Surfaces Marking Fairdale Tornado Outbreak

fairIt’s been a year since a giant, deadly EF-4 tornado ripped through the tiny community of Fairdale, Illinois. It was one of the most intense tornadoes of the entire year.

For the most part, Spring in the U.S. last year was calmer than average, with less severe weather than we would normally expect. By the end of March, there had only been 5 confirmed tornadoes. But on April 9th, this massive wedge struck Fairdale, just 20 miles from Rockford.

Some of the most incredible and frightening footage of this terrifying tornado was shot by a Fairdale resident, Clem Schultz. He says he felt no fear as this monster approached his house; he thought it would miss his wife and him…

“I don’t know where she went in the kitchen, but apparently it wasn’t safe enough. I was up there in the window looking out.”

In its wake, the tornado left a trail of complete devastation. First responders searched for victims through the night, checking the many large piles of debris that had once been beautiful homes. After sunrise… their rescue efforts continued.

Pete Polarek, Chief of Sycamore Fire Department said, “And they’re going to continue throughout the day; right now as you can imagine there are lots of challenges, lots of safety issues.”

Chief Chad Connell of the Kirkland Fire District described the continued challenges of the search, “It’s not so much the bigger buildings, it’s the buildings that are basically level to the foundations. We have huge debris piles, so we have to be careful; we have to take our time.”

The damage was incredible, and although two people including Clem Schultz’s wife, Geraldine were lost, neighbor Susan Meyer survived the tornado that completely destroyed her house.

“I started to go downstairs to the first floor when the windows blew in. It passed in about 30 seconds; it was very quick. When it was over, I had a two-story house and the roof and the upper floor were on the first floor in the living room.”

By midday on April 10th, as the recovery efforts continued, road crews were already on the scene, putting the name back on the little community that a tornado had nearly taken away.

For WeatherNation, John Van Pelt

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