TODAY | November 20, 2013
>> damage from tornadoes across the midwest is becoming more clear. at least 26 twisters touched down in indiana and 11 hit illinois . authorities in washington, illinois finally allowed homeowners back into some of the hardest hit neighborhoods. nbc's kate snow was there.
>> reporter: for too many here it's about gathering up what little they have left.
>> oh my god.
>> reporter: authorities say the f-4 tornado that tore through here sunday damaged or destroyed at least 1,000 homes.
>> we just had a big tornado come through, wiped out the whole neighborhood.
>> reporter: carla used all her strength to pull her bathroom door closed.
>> i just put the pillows over my head and i had my back there. when i walked out it was light.
>> because there's no roof.
>> reporter: on tuesday she went home for the first time.
>> that's kyle when he was a baby, my son. can't you just kiss that little face .
>> reporter: her son is an army sergeant now stationed in georgia. her daughter, a military wife in north carolina . her family far away and until they can get here she is relying on strangers.
>> this is home for now.
>> reporter: sleeping at a red cross shelter.
>> everybody here has just -- i don't know, taken us in their arms.
>> reporter: carla was hoping she would find her grandmother's teacup in a cabinet. but as hard as it snchis.
>> i have a piece of it.
>> reporter: she'll start fresh.
>> this isn't survive but i did. this can be -- not replaced but memories made.
>> reporter: kate snow , nbc news, washington, illinois .