- (Photo: Reuters/Anthony Khoury/Handout via Reuters)
A video recorded Sunday that is now making its rounds on the Internet shows a deadly tornado devastating an Illinois neighborhood while the man filming the disaster prays aloud.
Anthony Khoury, 21, filmed the tornado that destroyed sections of Washington, Ill., through a window in his family's home, according to CNN. In the video he can be heard saying the Lord's Prayer followed by a Hail Mary.
"I come from a very devout Catholic Christian family, and we trust in God that He protects us and He always gives us strength and courage to help us endure in all sorts of sufferings and threats," Khoury told the network.
Khoury says his father first thought the sound of the tornado was actually the sound of a helicopter flying nearby, that is until they looked outside and saw a the "massive" cyclone.
"We all just…ran downstairs and we just all started praying and holding each other's hands, and we believed that God would keep us safe," Khoury told CNN.
After the tornado passed, he said, he and his father explored the neighborhood to examine the damage. Cars had been flipped, there were people crying in the streets and homes had been leveled, though his was left intact.
The National Weather Service Forecast Office for Central Illinois gave the tornado that ravaged Washington a preliminary rating of EF-4 and said the twister reached a peak wind speed of between 170 and 190 miles per hour. In addition to killing one person, who CNN identified as 51-year-old Steve Neubaurer, the cyclone also injured an estimated 75 others.
Throughout Illinois hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, according to a press release from Governor Pat Quinn's office. Hundreds of thousands of people were also left without power, and roads were closed due to downed power lines and fallen trees.
On Monday, Quinn declared seven counties to be state disaster areas.
"Yesterday Illinois was hit extremely hard by deadly tornadoes that left many in a great deal of pain and loss," said Quinn in a statement. "Although we are still receiving reports of massive damage to communities across our state, we want to make sure people are getting the assistance and resources they need as quickly as possible. As we pray for the families of those who have lost their lives and others who are injured, the state of Illinois will do everything necessary to help these communities recover."
Tornadoes also appeared in several other states, including Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri, on Sunday, according to preliminary reports from the NWS.