At least two people are dead and nearly a dozen others injured after a tornado touched down in northern Illinois on Thursday evening. Dozens of homes were damaged, at least one school remains closed and two animals were killed at a local zoo.
The Red Cross has opened shelters near the town of Rochelle and the communities of Fairdale, Kirkland and Ashton, which were among the hardest hit by the storm. Rescue crews are now sifting through the damage as local residents begin to rebuild their homes. If you'd like to help the communities, several GoFundMe pages have been set up and other organizations are accepting donations to aid recovery efforts. Officials are encouraging volunteers to stay away from the damage at this time, Kirkland Community Fire District Chief Chad Connell told the Chicago Tribune.
"Although they mean well, we would like for them to stay off-site," he said. "Do not come out here to help us. We have a plan here set in place that we need to stick to."
Take a look at some of the sobering aftermath photos below.