Photos of Washington, Illinois Tornado Damage

My buddy Bill is a writer for USA Today and he took me along with him to gather info for his article in USA Today about the tornado damage in Washington, Illinois.

After seeing anything like this for this first time, I will say the damage was profound, terrifying, awe-inspiring, complete, random, haunting and humbling.

The odd thing was that the damage was exactly what you see on tv during high wind events, and it looked precisely what you’d imagine when you think of an area ravaged by a tornado. But seeing it in person is a lot different, much like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls after having seen them on television.

My biggest takeaway from it was that I will never again be surprised by the strength of mother nature. She can do anything.

None of these photos need a caption, but a few them got one anyway.


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  • Powerful photos that were sobering to look at. I can't imagine seeing them in real life let alone experiencing that storm.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    You were drunk? Kathy, oh my gosh!

    Just trying to provide some comic relief! Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciated the immediate feedback and knowing they moved someone like they did me.

    It was weird talking to other reporters and residents. It's just, "I've never seen anything like this. Total devastation. This is crazy." with a lot of head shaking then you just go about your way. There is nothing to say.

  • Great post! These are amazing photos and the captions are really effective. The eerie displacement of things--and that blue sky. It's almost surreal. It's a miracle more people weren't killed.

  • So sad. This one hits really close to home.

  • Wonderful photos. I worked in broadcasting in that market for four years in my younger days. It's been very hard for me to look at all of this. I also heard that several of my friends lost pretty much everything. They are so fortunate that so few were hurt.

  • Very scary, my worst nightmare. One never knows the wrath of Mother Nature. She scares me most of all. Good pictures, although they are sad.

  • Crazy pictures man. My wife and I are from the Peoria area and she has family in Washington. The whole area is actually a valley with the Illinois river running down the center. I grew up in the lower parts of the valley and have never heard of any touch downs, but Washington is on the upper bluff. Something to think about when choosing your home.

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