tornado anniversary

The road to rebuilding in Washington

Nov 18, 2014

Families continue to move back into Washington, Illinois a year after an EF4 tornado damaged or destroyed more than 1,100 homes. The majority of destroyed properties are getting rebuilt. And the surge of new construction coupled with returning residents has the city on track to be bigger and potentially better. 

More than 100 residents braved the bitter cold to walk through neighborhoods damaged by last year's tornado. 

Remembering November 17th in Tazewell County

Nov 17, 2014
Denise Molina-Weiger / Peoria Public Radio

A moment of silence happened Monday in remembrance of the November 17th tornadoes that hit Tazewell County. Residents and public officials attended the outdoor event in Washington’s LaHood Park, despite the frigid temperatures.

Gifford recovers in 2014, looks ahead

Nov 17, 2014
Sean Powers / WILL/Illinois Public Radio

Monday marks a year since a half-mile wide tornado tore through the Champaign County town of Gifford. But a visit today to the community of 1,000 shows many signs of resilience. The 140 mile per hour winds on November 17, 2013, destroyed homes and businesses, snapped trees and power lines and shut down the water treatment plant.  In the face of that destruction, residents say the community came together and largely rebuilt their town in the weeks and months that followed.

“I remember texting my brother (on the West Coast) saying what a gorgeous day it is, 70 degrees and sunny, it’s perfectly fine,” said Mike Swinney, who lives in rural Penfield, a couple miles outside of Gifford.

November 17th tornado victims share their stories

Nov 17, 2014

A year ago today a tornado that was a half-mile wide with 190-mile-an-hour winds started in East Peoria and cut a mean path through Washington. Another tornado was on the ground in Pekin.

Hundreds of families lost everything in last year’s November 17th tornadoes that ripped through Pekin, East Peoria and Washington. Some recovery needs were met soon after with the help of insurance and government resources. But coming into the one year anniversary of the disaster, the Tri-County Long Term Recovery Center has been a constant provider of help for those who were impacted by the storms. 

More than 1000 tornado victims have sought assistance from the Tri-County Long Term Recovery Center, in Washington since February. The center aims to make the process easy by pairing individuals and families with case managers. Recovery Center Chairman Jim Fassino says the case managers make requests for their clients to about 40 service agencies.

Remembering November 17th in Central Illinois

Nov 17, 2014

Many people are remembering the one year anniversary of the tornadoes that swept through the Midwest last November 17th. Tazewell County and the City of Washington were among the hardest hit.

Washington's Mayor on the one-year anniversary

Nov 17, 2014
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

More than 40 percent of the City of Washington, Illinois was damaged or destroyed a year ago today. An EF-4 tornado cut a wide path through the town of more than 15,000 people, leveling entire subdivisions in its path.

Washington Mayor Gary Manier was at an anniversary documentary screening at Five Points Washington Sunday and spoke with Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce.