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Tornadoes rip across Illinois and Tennessee
Illinois Correspondent

PAWNEE, Ill. — Mother Nature turned an angry eye on central Illinois Sunday, April 2.

With national weather services predicting dire weather conditions, the brunt of the storm and most of the damage pounding the community of Taylorville, Ill. - ripping the roof off an Ace Hardware store, causing downed power lines and interrupting school and power for residents into Monday.

For Pawnee, Ill. residents, Sue and Dave Barlow and their son, Burt, a small tornado skipped from Divernon, Ill. east - straight to their farm that sits just south of Pawnee. The national weather bureau deemed the storm between an F0 and an F1. The tornado was a small offshoot that tore up one shed, moving it off its foundation and blasting through the Barlow’s 1917 horse barn.

“This was built with wooden pegs. It has oak beams,” Dave Barlow said walking through the now open loft of the barn.

The old barn was hit first from the west, moving around items stored on the barn floor several feet and opening up the loft and part of the roof. The remnants of a pop-up camper landed in the front yard, at least 500 feet from where it was stored.

A weather bureau representative explained to the Barlows that the tornado had more force going into the barn than exiting. The tornado forged a path in one new window and out another new window bowing the eastern front of the barn outward. With holes in the loft, a section off the roof and other damage, the barn still stands, true to the strength of its structure.

“We hope we can save it,” Sue Barlow said of the barn that has been in her family for generations.

In the Barlow’s field behind the barn, they found two grain bins lying crushed and scattered.

“We don’t know whose bins they are, or where they came from,” Dave Barlow said.

“The insurance adjuster doesn’t know when he will make it out here. They are so busy,” he added.

In the meantime, the Barlows are picking up branches in the yard along with trees that were ripped apart. They are patching a window in their parlor that was shattered by a branch and another window where the branch exited.

They are grateful that they are not injured. Their son, Burt, a policeman for a local community was home during the storm and witnessed the funnel cloud.

“It sounded like a roar,” said Sue Barlow, hoping it is a sound they won’t hear again in the near future.

This farm news was published in the April 12, 2006 issue of Farm World.