Cleanup begins after EF-3 tornado rips through Woodridge

Weather

WOODRIDGE, Ill.  A day of cleanup and disbelief in the western suburbs.

About 20 minutes after touching down in Naperville, an EF-3 tornado hit Woodridge. Many residents say they went to bed last night, thinking it was just a thunderstorm, only to wake up to an alert on their phones, telling them to take cover. 

As the sun came up Monday morning in Woodridge, a trail of destruction told the night’s story. 

“He said our garage is gone. I said, ‘What? What do you mean the garage is gone? It’s gone.” said Nancy Moore.

A bad thunderstorm Sunday night was a confirmed tornado tearing through parts of the Naperville community.

“We had no time to go in the basement,” Moore said. “The house rattled, the windows rattled and a big bang,”

Describing the harrowing echoes from Sunday night, Jenna Potakar says, “it was kind of like that train sound people talk about. And it’s real.” 

Following the aftermath, neighbors spent Monday trying to pick up the pieces and make sense of it all. 

SkyCam9 captured the devastating impact of 100 miles an hour winds that ripped off roofs, uprooted trees and crunched metal like its aluminum foil. 

“It just shows how powerful the storm was,” said Woodridge resident Austin Moca.

“It was incredible,” Potakar said. “I’ve never been through something like that before.” 

Tornado confirmed in Woodridge as severe storms leave significant damage across southwest suburbs

The remains of a garage, a backyard and a kitchen, were just some of the sights that conveyed the storm’s destruction.

“All of our windows blew inside at the same time,” Potakar said.

But in the aftermath of the storm, many say there is a silver lining. 

“A lot of us our teachers and this is our school,” said cleanup volunteer Linda Wagner.

Amanda Zika, spent most the day handing out free food to the impacted community.

“Giving out sandwiches. It’s all I know how to do,” Zika said. “I’m not a heavy lifter but I can feed people.”

Some community members chose not to reflect on the materialistic losses. They say they’re choosing to focus on the positives.

“Just happy to be alive,” Potakar said.

“It doesn’t matter, my husband’s OK, our neighbors are OK,” Moore said.

A perspective only trauma can bring. 

“So glad that nobody was killed,” Wagner added. That’s the most important thing. We can repair all this. That’s what counts.” 

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