On Sunday November 17th, brutal storms caused destruction in the Midwestern United States.
Steve Bucher, a surviving victim from Washington Illinois, described the event to have escalated quickly. Within minutes of spotting the funnel cloud he could feel his house shaking.
CNN reported Bucher’s thoughts in that moment: "I think my attitude was in the next minute and a half, we're either going to be in heaven, we're going to be in the hospital or we're going to walk out of here. Completely in the Lord's hands which one of those three things was going to happen.”
The tornado demolished most of his house, but he and his wife were not injured.
Hundreds of other houses and buildings were destroyed. Trees were struck causing blocked roads, and the Ogle County Sheriff's Office said that at least six trucks were flipped over about 80 miles west of Chicago during the havoc.
Most devastating is the report of eight deaths.
Six people died in Illinois and two in Michigan. Of the six in Illinois, three deaths occurred in the town of Washington, about 145 miles southwest of Chicago. A brother and sister, 80 year-old Joseph Hoy and 78 year-old Frances died on their family farm. A 51 year-old man was also found dead in Washington. CNN reported, “Three other deaths happened in Massac County, across the Ohio River from Paducah, Kentucky. Authorities identified the storm victims as Kathy George, 58, Robert Harmon, 56, and Scholitta Burrus, 63.”
In Perry, Michigan a 59 year-old man was reported missing by his wife after not returning home once the storm had passed. He was later found dead, trapped in power lines. Another victim, a 21 year-old man who is currently unnamed was found dead in Jackson County.
The catastrophe injured at least 200 others, about 120 of them from Washington County. Jon Monken, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, stated that seven of those injuries were “traumatic.”
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has announced 13 counties as state disaster areas due to the great destruction.
Rescue workers have been searching through the rubble and the road to recovery has begun. Patti Thompson, spokeswoman for Illinois emergency management agency said, "We are (also) looking forward to the debris removal, working with communities trying to get the cleanup started."