A tornado ripped apart Perryville, a city of about 8,000 people about 80 miles southeast of St. Louis, on Tuesday.
The tornado picked up cars from a junkyard and carried them across Interstate 55, tossing them into other vehicles that were on the road. An I-55 driver died in the storm, police said.
Perryville homes also were torn to bits -- some down to their foundations. Debris was scattered along US 61. About 60 families lost "just about everything," an official said.
For residents like Pat Harber, Wednesday was spent combing through what was left of their wrecked homes.
A storm, and possibly a tornado, tore through the northern Illinois communities of Naplate and Ottawa on Tuesday.
An aerial shot from CNN affiliate WGN showed what remains of homes.
About 60 homes were destroyed in the area, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said.
"We've got to count our blessings. This could have been way worse," the governor said.