US

In aftermath of rare late-season tornadoes, shattered communities come together, keep going

  • This aerial photo taken Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, shows a home that was destroyed by a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington on Sunday. It was one of the worst-hit areas after intense storms and tornadoes swept through Illinois. The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Washington had a preliminary rating of EF-4, meaning wind speeds of 170 mph to 190 mph. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    This aerial photo taken Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, shows a home that was destroyed by a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington on Sunday. It was one of the worst-hit areas after intense storms and tornadoes swept through Illinois. The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Washington had a preliminary rating of EF-4, meaning wind speeds of 170 mph to 190 mph. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)  (The Associated Press)

  • This aerial view on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, two men walk through what is left of a home that was destroyed by a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington on Sunday. It was one of the worst-hit areas after intense storms and tornadoes swept through Illinois. The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Washington had a preliminary rating of EF-4, meaning wind speeds of 170 mph to 190 mph. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    This aerial view on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, two men walk through what is left of a home that was destroyed by a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington on Sunday. It was one of the worst-hit areas after intense storms and tornadoes swept through Illinois. The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Washington had a preliminary rating of EF-4, meaning wind speeds of 170 mph to 190 mph. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)  (The Associated Press)

  • This aerial view on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, shows untouched homes and homes destroyed by a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington on Sunday. It was one of the worst-hit areas after intense storms and tornadoes swept through Illinois. The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Washington had a preliminary rating of EF-4, meaning wind speeds of 170 mph to 190 mph. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    This aerial view on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, shows untouched homes and homes destroyed by a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington on Sunday. It was one of the worst-hit areas after intense storms and tornadoes swept through Illinois. The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Washington had a preliminary rating of EF-4, meaning wind speeds of 170 mph to 190 mph. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)  (The Associated Press)

The cleanup from an outbreak of tornadoes has scarcely begun, but people in storm-ravaged towns like Washington in central Illinois have come together and kept going.

The tornado that hit Washington on Sunday cut a path about an eighth of a mile wide from one side of the community of 16,000 to the other. It damaged or destroyed as many as 500 homes.

People forced out of their homes were allowed back in Monday to survey damage and see what they could save.

In one neighborhood, homeowners and their friends and families worked quickly in a stiff, cold breeze.

Some homes had been shattered into piles of brick, drywall and lumber. Others still had sections standing.