Story Summary

Tornado outbreak – November 2013

At least 14 tornadoes struck Illinois and northwest Indiana on Sunday, November 17, 2013.

Click here for details from the Chicago Tribune.

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Judge Mark Gilles and his wife shared their incredible story from that day November. Their youngest children were alone in their basement when the tornado hit their home. When Mark got there, he saw that they lost their home, but thankfully that his kids were without a scratch.



Aerial pictures of the tornado path at Washington, Ill. near Peoria on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

The Steve Cochran Show visited Washington, IL, to check on the progress of rebuilding after November’s tornado devastation.


The Cochran Show crew at Uftring Chevy in Washington, IL

Mayor Gary Manier joins Pete McMurray in studio to talk about Washington, Ill., and the recovery efforts after the tornado. Manier thanks WGN for continuing the coverage and for the visit planned later this month. Steve Cochran calls the show to lend his support, and a special guest is on the line as well. Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon played in central Illinois after the tornado, and he’s playing again tomorrow in Chicago. Mayor Manier will be there.


Mayor Gary Manier of Washington, Ill. (WGN Radio)

Last November the town of Washington, Ill., was hit hard by tornadoes. Almost six months later the town is still returning to normal. Mayor Gary Manier calls in to let us know how the cleanup effort is coming along. Listen below for the full interview.


Aftermath of the severe tornado damage a large portion of Washington, Illinois near Peoria on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)

Dr. Kevin Most from Cadence Health is on, talking about how the debris from the IL tornadoes is causing bronchitis-like symptoms. He explains what is happening, how it happens in the body, and how people in those areas can best protect themselves from the symptoms.

For more information, click here.

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Fireman search houses along Devonshire Road. Tornado damage at Washington, Illinois just east of Peoria on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)

There is an ongoing effort to help the Washington Tornado survivor, Annmarie Klein, who lost irreplaceable cards from her late brother in the storm. Marcus Leshock from WGN TV just did a story furthering the search effort for these items! Photos from her home were found in Jefferson Park and Homer Glen, so it is possible that these cards are out there somewhere by you!


Listen Here to our interview with Annmarie, including details about the cards.

If you happen to find anything that could belong to a tornado victim, the Morton Public Library is acting as a drop off spot and pick up center for lost items.

Morton Public Library
315 W Pershing St, Morton, IL 61550
(309) 263-2200



With McCormick Foundation Match over $800,000 to be granted

TornadoReliefDay1CHICAGO, Illinois (December 3, 2013) – In response to the widespread damage of the November 17 storms throughout Illinois, WGN Radio partnered with McCormick Foundation, WGN-TV and Chicago Tribune to host the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort on Tuesday, November 26. The fundraising initiative took place over a 24-hour period, with WGN Radio hosts rallying listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Effort, a campaign of the McCormick Foundation.

WGN Radio listeners, in addition to major donations from Medline Industries Inc., Cadence Health, Wintrust Financial Corporation and the FDC Foundation, contributed to a total of $554,087 raised.  The McCormick Foundation matched the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents to the dollar, providing an additional $250,000 in funds and bringing the total amount available to grant to $804,087.

“The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort continues the WGN Radio tradition of reacting quickly to take care of our listeners in need,” said Jimmy de Castro, President & General Manager of WGN Radio. “It’s also another example in a long list of generous giving from the Chicago community.  We thank our partners at the McCormick Foundation, WGN TV, and the Chicago Tribune as well as generosity of our listeners, viewers, and readers for helping rebuild the lives of those impacted by the devastating storms.”

David Hiller, President and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation said, “People in these communities will need assistance in addressing their long-term needs. These funds provide families with more than just the physical resources to rebuild their lives. We’re able to offer them hope on the road to recovery.”

All $804,087 will be granted directly to nonprofit agencies providing disaster relief and recovery efforts to those communities hit hardest by the storms with the first round of grants being distributed by the end of 2013. Fundraising for this effort will continue through December 31, 2013. Only monetary donations are accepted.

There are three ways to donate:

  1. Online:
  2. Call the toll-free phone number: 1-800-931-5707
  3. Mail a check payable to:
    Illinois Tornado Relief
    McCormick Foundation Processing Center
    23912 Network Place
    Chicago, IL 60673-1239

Pete McMurray talks to the Mayor of Washington, Illinois about how the city is doing during clean up and the rebuilding of many central Illinois towns after the devastating tornadoes.


Washington Mayor Gary Manier, at right, talks with John Simon of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency about damage caused by the tornadoes in in Washington, Ill. (Anthony Souffle / Chicago Tribune)

Darrell Crouch, the Washington, IL football coach, joins the DK Show to talk about the resilience of his players, how the recent state semifinal match helped the town focus on something positive and the difference in seeing the destruction on TV and in person.


Coach Darrell Crouch, right, talks to his team after Washington High School football team practice at Hancock Stadium of the Illinois State University in Normal on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

Matt McCullough vividly recounts events from the day of the storm, such as what it looked and sounded like outside and how his house completely disappeared.  He also talks about how the tornado has affected both his long-term plans and outlook on life. You can donate to help victims of this tragedy by visiting or by calling 800-931-5707.