(NBC News) Two days after a line of deadly tornadoes battered the Midwest and the winds have now died down and the work of recovery begins.
That will be especially difficult in central Illinois where the storms leveled entire communities, including the town of Washington.
The national weather service has confirmed it was an ef-4 with winds of close to 200 miles an hour.
Scientists say it was moving at 60-to-70 miles an hour and was on the ground for close to 45 minutes.
It was a violent storm that left little other than debris in its wake.
And now two days later, the reality is beginning to set in.
"Nobody has anything left. It's all gone. It's just all gone," said one resident.
During a week many families are getting ready for the thanksgiving holiday.
Hundreds are instead searching for any part of their home that might be left after the storm.
"We were planning on a thanksgiving and uncle Joe was going to fry a turkey so we were all looking forward to that. But we don't know what we're going to do now, said one homeowner.
Understanding what's happened and where to start is difficult when you see the scope of the devastation.
Entire neighborhoods are wiped away with cars battered and tossed for blocks.
It's a life time of work and memories for so many trashed and scattered for miles.
"i am scared to death i don't know what we're going to do, I'm just going to take it day by day," one resident said.
They are long and difficult days for a section of the country struggling to come back after the storms.
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