(NECN/NBC News: Jay Gray) - Cleanup efforts are underway across several Midwestern states following Sunday’s deadly tornado outbreak that left at least eight people dead.
Central Illinois took the most severe hit.
An eerie silence has settled across the strike zone, but that silence will soon give way to families.
People are picking through debris, returning to sift through the splintered remnants of their lives, scattered for miles by more than 50 tornados that cut a deep path across at least a dozen states.
One person said, "This is hard to look at. This was once our community."
Washington, Ill. is a community ravaged by a massive twister that ripped open a path five miles long and a tenth-of-a-mile wide, destroying hundreds of homes.
Resident Darrell Crouch said, "Probably that it happened at church time where we had people not in their homes helped out a little bit.
While the storms have passed, the tragedy is still far from over. The cleanup is only just beginning.
Ill.Gov. Pat Quinn said, "We will recover, we will prevail over these tornados."