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Cleanup, Heartbreak In Wake Of Killer Tornadoes

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A wider view of the devastation on Tuesday in Washington, Ill. (Credit: Chris Martinez/CBS 2)

A wider view of the devastation on Tuesday in Washington, Ill. (Credit: Chris Martinez/CBS 2)

WASHINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — On Tuesday, the sounds of residents and volunteers trying to pick up the pieces of lives shattered by a violent tornado filled this small Midwestern town, largely destroyed in moments by a horrific act of nature.

A total of 11 tornadoes hit Illinois on Sunday, including the EF-4 monster in Washington, with winds of nearly 200 mph. The storms killed six people across the state and injured hundreds more.

On Tuesday, six more counties were added to the disaster area list: Douglas, Jasper, Pope, Wabash, Wayne and Will.

In a week that has only dealt cruel forecasts, there comes more hardship on Wednesday in the form of biting cold and heavy rain.

On Tuesday, residents were given a five-hour window to find what they could of their former lives. CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports:

In Diamond, Ill., volunteers poured into that storm-ravaged town, rushing to the aid of desperate residents there. CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports:

The children described what it was like to be in their basements and then emerge to see the utter devastation.

CBS 2’s Susanne Song spoke with kids–in both Coal City and Diamond–where school is now back in session:

The deadly tornadoes started hitting our state just before kickoff of the Bears game at Soldier Field and Tuesday, several Bears players — past and present — gave their fans in Diamond, Illinois a big kick. Derrick Blakely reports.

Back in Washington, kids tried their best to find a “new normal” amid all the unwelcome chaos in their lives now. High schools students tried to study in hotel lobbies, kids gathered at community centers to play games and collect essential supplies. CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports:

It was 23 years ago that a devastating tornado touched down in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. Jim Williams reports on Tuesday, firefighters from that area came to Washington with moral support and a lot of supplies.

Many in Washington are looking ahead to the weekend where a big high school football playoff game scheduled for Saturday. Dana Kozlov reports, the team’s opponents are doing all they can to help.

Volunteers are pouring into the devastated areas to help. Many of the victims in Washington returned Tuesday for the first time. Chris Martinez reports.

As storm victims try to find precious items among the rubble, one woman in the Chicago area is helping to connect lost items, to their owners miles and miles away. Mike Parker reports.

As families return to their tornado ravaged homes in Central Illinois, some are still looking for lost pets. Cindy McKeon with The National Disaster Animal Response and Recovery Team says they’ve set up a Facebook page with pictures of lost and wandering pets. Lisa Fielding reports.

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