NORTH MANKATO — While listening to news reports early Sunday morning about a powerful storm system sweeping the Midwest, Tammy Ellis of North Mankato was thinking of her daughter in Illinois.
"I had a feeling everything was going to be OK.”
Sarah Ellis called about 11 a.m. to let her family know she was safe — so was her house and dog. That's when her mom's emotions kicked in.
"I was in shock all day Sunday," Tammy Ellis said. "Today I am all jittery. There are people who lost their homes, who lost everything. I keep thinking about them.”
A graduate of West High School, Sarah Ellis, 28, lives in Washington, Ill., east of Peoria. She was working out at a rec center when one of the storm system's multiple tornadoes first smashed through her city. Several neighborhoods were destroyed and at least one person died.
Ellis, a pharmacist, had been at her job before she went to the center Sunday afternoon. After the storm cleared, Ellis anxiously headed home to check on her golden retriever. Her vehicle's tires were punctured while driving on debris-covered roads and when she got near her neighborhood, streets were blocked off.
"I had to walk about a mile to my house," Ellis said.
Sunday night, Ellis used a gas fireplace to keep warm. There was no electricity and it was a "boil water" situation. Monday, she was told the central gas line in the subdivision could be shut off, so she went to stay at a friend's place.
"All of my co-workers are in the same spot — staying with someone else," Ellis said. There are a lot of people who have it worse. They have no homes to go home to."
The powerful late-season storm also hit Indiana on Sunday.