(CNN) — Anthony Khoury and his family were in the living room of their home in Washington, Illinois, on Sunday when his father thought he heard a helicopter flying over head.
When they turned to look out the window, they saw a tornado barreling through their neighborhood one of dozens spawned by a severe weather system that affected several states in the Midwest.
"Everyone started running downstairs," Khoury said. As his parents and aunt huddled together against the basement wall, the 21-year-old stood near the window, documenting the ferocious tornado as it swept through the area.
"The tornado happened in my back yard and you can hear people screaming. We were freaking out," he said.
Khoury started praying as he captured the twister ripping through nearby structures.
After the tornado passed, he and his family went outside to survey the damage. He says, to their surprise, their home was not affected by the tornado, but the surrounding neighborhood was left in disarray. Roofs were ripped off of some homes and others were leveled.
"It was complete destruction. There are people in the streets crying," he said.
"We're so blessed that our street was untouched. You drive out of my street and all this destruction is there. A mile away it is all destroyed," he said.