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February 29th is the 4 yr. anniversary of a deadly EF-4 Tornado that ripped through Saline and Gallatin County, Illinois

February 29th is the 4 yr. anniversary of a deadly EF-4 Tornado that ripped through Saline and Gallatin County, Illinois

Bill Stephens

February 29th, 2016

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Today marks the four year anniversary of when  an EF-4 Tornado ripped through the Saline and Gallatin County, Illinois area causing seven fatalities and dozens of injuries.

The line of severe thunderstorms produced damage across parts of southern Illinois, southwest Indiana and western Kentucky during the early morning hours of February 29, 2012. The National Weather Service reports several tornadoes touched down across the Tri-State area with the southern Illinois community of Harrisburg the hardest hit area.

According to the final damage assessment by the National Weather Service, the EF-4 tornado event started around 4:50 Wednesday morning, February 29, 2012 and traveled from Carrier to Harrisburg and Ridgeway packing peak winds of 180 miles per hour with an average path width of 275 yards and tracked about 26.5 miles. The EF-4 Tornado killed seven people and injured dozens of other residents.

The storm damage assessment says in Harrisburg over 200 homes and about 25 businesses were destroyed or heavily damaged, including a strip mall that was destroyed on the east side of Highway 45. At least ten homes or other buildings were leveled with several home structures knocked off their foundations.

In Ridgway, the tornado damaged about 140 homes and businesses, caused one critical injury and about a dozen minor injuries, destroyed a church building and half a dozen grain bins and tossed around numerous vehicles.

An EF-1 tornado packing peak winds of 90 miles per hour with a path of 100 yards wide and was reportedly on the ground for two miles in Warrick County where it leveled a garage, uprooted dozens of trees, caused roof damage to 15 to 20 homes and completely ripped the roofs off of two homes.

The EF-1 tornado also went into Henderson County on the north bank of the Ohio River along Nugent Road with a peak wind of 90 miles hour with a path of 100 yards wide and was on the ground for about one mile. The tornado left behind blown over telephone poles, three partially destroyed river cabins and completely destroyed one cabin.

022916 Saline-Galatin County Tornado Map

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