With dozens dead, scores of buildings reduced to rubble and some communities all but obliterated, residents of the Midwest and South begin the week Sunday assessing the devastation wrought by a series of vicious tornadoes.
The massive outbreak began Friday and extended into the next day, eventually affecting about 17 million people from Indiana to Georgia.
By the time the powerful storm system faded, 37 were killed: 18 in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio and one each in Alabama and Florida.
"It's like a bomb went off and everything is splintered, bricks are down and trees, and (there's) just a lot of debris," Ohio Gov. John Kasich said after visits to Moscow and Bethel.
Many miles and many states away, others described similar scenes.
With power still out Saturday in many of the worst hit areas, daylight provided the best opportunity to glimpse the extent of the damage.
Piles of concrete and wood remained strewn across the landscape of what used to be homes. Tall, once sturdy trees littered the ground. Bright yellow school buses smashed into buildings. Garbage bins and wooden beams, which had flown through the air like a jet airliner, resurfaced hundreds of yards away.
The center of West Liberty, Kentucky, transformed into an eerie ghost town after a twister ripped through buildings and flipped police cars along Main Street.
"There ain't nothing left of this town. It's just a tragedy," resident David Wilson said.
In Henryville, Indiana, about 20 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky, an EF-4 tornado -- with sustained winds of between 166 mph and 200 mph, putting it in the top 2% of tornadoes in terms of its strength -- struck a school complex head on.
National Weather Service meteorologist credited the early dismissal of students for preventing "scores of fatalities."
Elementary principal Glenn Riggs, meanwhile, thanked God that the 40 students who had remained, and huddled in an office area, were OK.
Nearby, Pamela Rawlings described how her parents went to the middle of their one-story home for safety. After a tornado came through, a neighbor rushed over to find the long-time couple about 30 feet apart -- with Pamela's 64-year-old father, Wayne Hunter, discovered dead and her mother, Lenora, spotted bloodied but alive.
"Whether you wanted to laugh or not, he always put a smile on your face," Rawlings said of her dad.
In Chelsea, east of Henryville, Steve Kloepfer told WHAS that the bodies of his aunt and uncle, Terry and Carol Jackson, and their 4-year-old grandchild were discovered in a field, covered in debris.
His own home, he said, was in rubble.
In addition to the dead, hospitals continued to treat scores suffering from major trauma to minor injuries related to sudden ferocious spurts of high winds, powerful hail and drenching rains.
They included a 20-month-girl found alone, without identification, in a field Friday night in Salem, about 20 miles west of Henryville.
The toddler was in critical condition, surrounded by extended family members at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, said hospital spokesman Brian Rublein.
Her immediate family -- including her parents, 3-year-old brother and 2-month-old sister -- were all killed in to the storm.
By Saturday evening, expectations had diminished that more survivors or dead would be found.
Most damaged buildings have been "searched and searched and searched again," said executive Tim Conley of Morgan County, Kentucky.
The focus turned to caring for survivors whose lives were turned upside down by the storm.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said the destruction left authorities there with "no idea how many people are left homeless."
"There are a lot of people who can't sit down on their own couch this evening," Goodin said Saturday.