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Family's preparation pays off during weekend tornado

Security cameras roll as a tornado strikes the Coventon household near Bowen, Illinois.

Two tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service after surveys on Monday, and for one Hancock County family, it was a very close call.

One of those two tornadoes struck the Coventon residence about a mile west of Bowen, Illinois. Large branches came crashing down from a tree, but unfortunately the biggest piece of damage was to their home. One large branch came right through their roof.


"Blue skies on one side then the other side was kind of getting a little bit dark,” said Becky Coventon. “Then I saw this huge gust of wind, and debris, and leaves and different things, just coming straight at me."

As the tornado hit the home, security cameras were rolling. It gave a greater appreciation of just how close of a call it was.

"If I was over on the other side of the yard mowing, I may not have been able to get to safety,” Becky said. “Because it was just seconds, It happened so quickly."

But it wasn't all just luck. As the winds picked up, none of Becky's seven kids panicked. due to practice and education, everyone was able to survive the tornado without any injuries.

“You can't just grab them up and go, you need a plan of action,” Becky said. “So the plan of action was for the bigger kids to grab the little ones, then go straight to a safe spot in the basement."

Becky ran inside to tell her children about the approaching tornado. That’s when the plan went in place. Becky and the older children grabbed the younger ones and bolted for the safe place in the basement.

“I had to make sure we had all the kids and then we all ran downstairs,” said Isaac Coventon, the oldest of Becky’s children. “I grabbed Abbey, my youngest sister, then Josh got Rachel.”

It took just 20 seconds to get everyone to shelter. It's a perfect example of how planning for the worst, despite how improbable it may be, will help in emergency situations.

"These kids did a really good job,” Becky said, “I'm proud of them."

Thankfully the tornado that hit southeast Hancock County wasn't stronger. It was rated an EF-0 with winds of 80mph.


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