Now the long, arduous road to recovery begins.
Hundreds of families in the Midwest must find a way to rebuild their lives after 76 reported tornadoes destroyed almost everything they had.
Here are some of those accounts – stories of those who survived, those who didn't, and those left devastated by the twisters.
Amy Tippin and her two boys survived the tornado that tore through New Minden, Illinois, by huddling in a creek bed. When it passed, she rushed next door to look for her grandparents.
She found her grandmother, 78-year-old Frances Hoy, under a pile of rubble.
"She just kept saying, 'Get me out, get me out," Tippin tearfully recalled to CNN affiliate KSDK. "I just was holding her. I told her how much I loved her."
Hoy didn't make it.
Neither did Hoy's brother, 80-year-old Joseph Hoy. His body was found in a field about 100 yards from the decimated home the siblings shared.
"They'd do anything for you," neighbor Bill Funke told the Belleville News-Democrat.
"They were friendly, outgoing and really liked exotic animals," he told the paper.
In addition to the Hoys, the storms claimed the lives of four other people in Illinois and two in Michigan.
In Washington, Illinois, the body of 51-year-old Steve Neubauer was found near his home, Tazewell County officials said.
And three people in Massac County - Kathy George, 58; Robert Harmon, 56; and Scholitta Burrus, 63 - were killed when the storm struck southern Illinois.
In Perry, Michigan, 59-year-old Phillip Smith was found dead, tangled in live power lines. Officials said a 21-year-old man was killed in Jackson County, but didn't release his name.
See more at CNN.com