Washington, Illinois tornado victims relive catastrophe

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Neighborhoods and business that once stood in Washington, Illinois are now gone.

Monday, The National Weather Service stated they believe the tornado that struck Washington was an EF-4 with winds gusting from 166-200 miles per hour.

Pat Nelson was working just a block away from where the tornado flattened a neighborhood. She said the noise was unforgettable.

“You can try and describe it to people all day long, but to me it sounded like a jet engine warming up,” said Nelson.

Nelson’s co-workers and friends lived in the neighborhood that was completely flattened by the tornado. She pointed to the location of their house, but all that remained was a pile of debris.

Others had family in the hard hit community.

Josh Peck and his father had been waiting to get the all clear from officials so they could start cleaning up around his grandparent’s house.

Peck said that his Grandpa was outside taking pictures, when he decided to go back inside.

“When he got inside he started hearing glass breaking and things hitting the house,” Peck said.

Both of Peck’s grandparents were uninjured, but the sights and sounds of the storm were damaging enough.

“You can’t put it into words until you have actually been here,” Peck continued, “You have seen this throughout the news where it happens to other places, but actually seeing it here, it’s something you can’t believe,” said Peck.

Then there are those like Dan Lykins who have lost everything.

He walked outside an abandon parking lot with a small suitcase and safe box. It was all he could manage to save.

“This is all I got,” Lykins said while holding his last two possessions.

Lykins wasn’t in his house when the tornado hit, but he came to the destruction site just hours after.

“You see pictures of it in the newspapers, and you see it on TV, but that isn’t anything until you walk through it,” Lykins said.

Now the storm is over, and finding shelter becomes the challenge for many.

“I don’t have a place to go right now, he continued, “I don’t know what we are going to do about that,” Lykins said.

If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross to help tornado victims, click the link below.

Red Cross