Residents in several suburban communities are cleaning up the rubble left behind after multiple tornadoes touched down on Sunday night, but officials say that they’re grateful that there wasn’t any reported loss of life associated with the powerful storms.
As of Monday night, a total of 11 injuries have been reported. Eight of those were reported in Naperville, which was struck by a tornado that the National Weather Service has estimated as an EF-3 twister, with winds of nearly 140 miles per hour.
Another three injuries were reported in Woodridge.
All 11 individuals are expected to survive, and that is at least some small comfort to those impacted by the storm.
“Look at the devastation. You can’t imagine anyone would live through that,” Katie Long Piper, a Naperville resident, said.
Long-Piper’s home is next door to a home that was flattened by the storm. The home, located on the Princeton Circle street where the worst damage from the tornado occurred, was left uninhabitable, but the residents inside escaped.
“I saw him awake, and alert. They were doing good,” she said of the elderly couple that lived inside. “She was on the phone today talking with her daughter, so that’s a miracle right there.”
The couple’s niece was even able to pull jewelry and other heirlooms from the rubble of the home.
“Luckily there were family photos saved, along with files and albums of their weddings,” Sienna Patel said.
In nearby Woodridge, residents are left cleaning up the damage and looking for silver linings after the powerful tornado roared through the area.
“It was pretty devastating,” Lorelei Johansen, whose home didn’t have a basement, said. “I was scared. It was very loud, like a freight train sound.”
Briget Casey, another Woodridge resident, says that she nearly lost everything, but she and her four children were able to make it through the storm unscathed. She was also able to save several priceless items: an urn containing her husband’s ashes, and her beloved bearded dragon.
“I’m just happy no one got hurt,” she said. “That’s the only thing keeping me going right now. That’s the only thing to smile about.”
The American Red Cross is on scene offering shelter and other items in Woodridge, and other organizations are offering assistance to residents who need it.