UPDATE 1:00 p.m. – At least one school that serves hundreds of students is closed in the tornado-damaged areas of northern Illinois.
Among the hardest hit communities was Fairdale, where one woman died. Homes and other structures were severely damaged. Children from the small farming town of roughly 150 people attend a nearby school in Kirkland where classes were canceled on Friday, the day after the severe weather hit.
Hiawatha School District Superintendent Sarah Willey says there are 575 total students in the district who attend school in a single building.
She says there are families who don’t know where they are going to stay.
School is scheduled to be back in session on Monday.
(CBS) – Daylight will better reveal the damage in Northern Illinois. Sirens warned people to take cover last night as at least one large tornado touched down.
The small towns of Rochelle and Fairdale, about 80 miles west of Chicago, were hit hard. Raymond Kramer was in the path. “Oh when it hit, we knew it hit, we didn’t know how bad.” In Rochelle, Raymond Kramer and his wife rode out the storm in the basement of a restaurant.
The tornado all but destroyed the building. Firefighters rescued the couple and about 10 other people an hour after the tornado plowed through. “We pulled in here and ran inside. Got a couple of pictures of the tornado right across the street from us here. The owner said ‘in the basement!’ and we went down in the basement.”
Not far away in Fairdale, at least one person was killed in the storm. Homes and buildings in the town are now barely recognizable. Furniture and other belongings are scattered everywhere.
Officials do not believe anyone is missing but crews will be going out today to account for residents in hard hit towns. “The first step obviously is trying to get to the immediate needs of the people,” said Dekalb County sheriff Roger Scott.
For survivors the night was filled with terror. “I’m really scared.”
The tornado was just one that touched down Thursday as a powerful line of severe weather moved across the Midwest. More than a dozen tornadoes were reported.