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FEMA On Ground In Washington To Assess Tornado Damage

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WASHINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — For the first time since the deadly tornadoes hit Illinois on Sunday, federal emergency management officials were on the ground in Washington on Thursday to survey the damage.

They said 1,082 homes were severely damaged or destroyed in the storm in Washington alone. There were nearly 1,500 homes damaged or destroyed across the state that saw at least 22 tornadoes touch down–including the EF-4 that ripped through this town of 15,000.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency toured the town to assess the damage–and even by their standards, it’s very bad.

CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports, it will likely take days to make a full inspection–amid piles of debris that once made up a whole neighborhood.

The cleanup was slowed again on Thursday due to rain. Officials hope they can allow residents back into the area again on Friday. Earlier in the week, homeowners were able to return for limited hours, but were kept out due to the weather on Thursday.

“It almost makes you feel guilty when you go home and have a roof over your head,” said Washington Mayor Gary Manier.

Meanwhile, students at Washington High School returned to classes for the first time since the devastating tornado.

Grief counselors were there to help — but most students said seeing their friends was all they needed.