Harrisburg, Illinois Tornado: Residents Begin To Pick Up Pieces After Disaster (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

03/01/2012 02:24 pm ET

As residents in downstate Harrisburg, Ill., continue to recover from the tornado that devastated their town and killed at least six people early Wednesday, residents were allowed to return to their badly damaged community Thursday to see what remained of their homes.

The storm has been designated an EF4 tornado -- the second-highest rating possible, as winds registered at a rate of over 170 miles per hour, Fox Chicago reports. Up to 300 homes and 35 businesses were reportedly destroyed in the storm.

"It's devastating," Quinn said. "Homes have been totally destroyed, we see the commercial damage behind me -- obliterated."

While local skies are sunny in Harrisburg on Thursday, the vicinity remains "right in the bull's eye" for a second string of storms expected to roll through the Midwest and South early Friday.

Ryan Jewell, a meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center, told the Associated Press that the upcoming system holds the potential for even more damage than the Wednesday storms.

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