MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. (WEHT) – Nighttime storms caused significant damage over parts of the Tristate, but the light of day revealed the true extent of the damage in hard-hit Mount Carmel, Illinois. Resident Joe Delong says he has lived in the Mount Carmel area for nearly 15 years and has never seen destruction like this before.

“It was an experience, hearing all that wind howling, and everything shaking,” recalls Delong.

It was a similar experience for husband and wife Kiefer and Annie Goldman. The Goldman’s received notifications on their phone of the Wabash County tornado warning and quickly ran to their basement. Their home was unscathed, but two of their large trees were destroyed.

“We came upstairs, looked out the window and saw that tree down,” says Kiefer, “so then she started yelling, ‘Go back downstairs, go back downstairs!”

The National Weather Service Forecast Office out of Paducah, Kentucky was in Wabash County surveying the damage to determine if it was a tornado, and, if confirmed, how strong it was. National Weather Service meteorologist Christine Wielgos says preliminary estimates have wind speeds of at least 115 miles per hour.

“The one thing that really drove the wind speeds up in our opinion,” explains Wielgos, “was back further to the southwest of Mount Carmel, there are a bunch of snapped power poles. You don’t snap a power pole without some pretty hefty winds.”

Following the storm, the American Red Cross of Southwest Indiana was on-hand to provide any relief and assistance residents might need. Beth Sweeney, Executive Director of the Southwest Indiana chapter, says while we are no strangers to severe weather, these events always seem to bring out the best in our communities.

“Unfortunately, we know all too well what tornadoes and storms can do to our area,” says Sweeney. “But what we’ve also seen over the years is that people know how to help each other and come together.”