Rescue and recovery efforts were underway Friday morning after two tornadoes hit Fairdale, Illinois, and left one person dead, multiple people injured and nearly 20 buildings demolished in the unincorporated town of 200 about 80 miles northwest of Chicago. The DeKalb County Coroner said Geraldine M. Schultz, 67, was killed in her home, NBC News reported.
The first tornado landed around 7 p.m. local time and left notable debris and downed power lines, damaging about 50 other buildings, according to the Associated Press. The National Weather Service sent three teams to assess the damage in six of the state's counties: Boone, DeKalb, Lee, McHenry, Ogle and Winnebago. “The west side of Fairdale is destroyed,” DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott told the Rock River Times.
Rochelle, Illinois, another small town located about 20 miles southwest of Fairdale, was also hit by the tornados, though there were no fatalities reported there. An elderly man who was trapped in a Rochelle restaurant's basement after it collapsed told a local television station
that he was stuck there with 11 others for an hour and a half, according to the AP.
“No sooner did we get down there, when it hit the building and laid a whole metal wall on top of the doors where we went into the storm cellar,” said Raymond Kramer, 81. “When the tornado hit, we all got a dust bath. Everyone in there got shattered with dust and debris falling out of the rafters.”
Russell Henson and his son, Nathan, fled their home in a community just outside of Fairdale shortly before the storms came. The house along with two barns were decimated. "I'm sure glad we didn't stay," the elder Henson said before lamenting, "My whole life is in that house," reported the Chicago Tribune.
The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross set up temporary shelters Thursday night, and many of the survivors were taken there after their homes were deemed unlivable.
Nearly 900 flights in and around the Chicago region were canceled in the days leading up to the storms -- which were forecast well in advance but somewhat underestimated -- but the number of delays was significantly reduced Friday to just more than 90 flights. 735 flights at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago alone were canceled Thursday, the AP reported
Below are some more of the devastating images captured and disseminated on social media from, during and after the tornados.