Shock Sets In as Midwest Clean-Up Continues

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Rescue and cleanup efforts continue Tuesday after a series of deadly tornadoes and powerful storms wreaked havoc across 12 states in the Midwest. At least eight people were killed, and thousands are now homeless.

Now the shock is beginning to set in as residents pick through the remains of their homes.

"Every minute I turn around I'm crying. I don't know. I don't have a house," Diamond, Ill., tornado survivor Danielle Cassana said.

"This is the deadliest series of tornadoes Illinois has ever had in the month of November," Gov. Pat Quinn said.

Illinois was hit the hardest, but officials there say matters could have been much worse.

Although entire neighborhoods were flattened, the death toll remains low. Television and radio warnings, combined with text-message alerts and storm sirens, alerted many people to the storms ahead of time.

But residents of some of the hardest hit areas say another factor contributed to the relatively low death toll: many families were at church.

In Washington, Ill., services were just getting started at Crossroads Methodist Church when the tornado warnings came to their cell phones by text.

"We moved everyone into our shelters and hunkered down," Crossroads youth director Trevor Bartolomucci said. "We had some ladies singing and praying and about 11:15, we heard the rumble."

"You say you hear a freight train sound -- heard that freight train sound and really the tornado was 300 yards from outside of church and kind of just passed us by," he said.

Thirty families from the church lost their homes, but so far no deaths or major injuries have been reported.

Now the church is looking to help rebuild its community by providing temporary shelter and stocking up on bottled water, canned foods, and other staples to give to those in need.

"We're from here," one tornado survivor said. "We're in the middle of it. We're going to stick it out, we'll rebuild, we'll care, we'll love. If they never step through this door but to get a meal, at least they know we have a God who cares and loves for anybody."

The United States sees an average of just over 50 twisters total in November. On Sunday, the Midwest got that and more in only about 12 hours.

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CBN News
Caitlin Burke and Charlene Israel

Caitlin Burke and Charlene Israel

CBN News

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