High school reopens in Washington; FEMA tours area

Tornado-stricken Washington Illinois took a small step toward recovery today when the high school reopened.

The school was not damaged by the storms and  students returned to the classroom, after spending several days helping families and neighbors clean up.

The elementary and middle schools are expected to re-open on Monday.

Meanwhile: disaster emergency teams are assessing the damage.

They say 22 tornadoes touched down statewide on Sunday and that Washington was the epicenter of destruction, the Washington Estates neighborhood included.

What was once a lively community of young families, is probably the most damaged residential area in the state.  City wide it’s the same story, of the nearly 1500 homes in Illinois that were destroyed or suffered major damage, more than 1000 are in Washington.

Jonathon Monken the director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency walked FEMA officials through the rubble as part of the state’s application for federal aid.

Today, there are two of these assessment teams in Washington due to the extreme devastation

There is also one in the city of Gifford that will also cover Champaign and Douglas counties, and one in Grundy and LaSalle counties and a fifth in Massac and Pope counties.

Monken says residents in Washington are allowed to return to the affected areas to recover belongings from tomorrow until Monday after being kept away today.

Statewide, damaged homes will be divided into four categories; destroyed, uninhabitable with major damage, uninhabitable with minor damage and affected.

Monken says if Illinois is granted federal disaster relief the thousand of people in these four categories will likely get some relief.

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