DeMars heard the sirens go off Thursday night and checked the sky. He watched as some of the clouds swirled, but he couldn't hear the tell-tale roaring sound people associated with tornadoes.
Still, he went downstairs in his
That's when the windows blew open.
"I just felt this huge wind tunnel go through our house," DeMars said. "Our basement window blew open, another window blew out and everything just started swirling about."
DeMars was lucky. Aside from a few busted windows, some toppled trees and a little roof damage, his house was intact. The same couldn't be said for some of his neighbors in the northern part of
The winds uprooted or snapped off trees, warped sheds, even stripped the roofs off of some buildings. While some property owners only had a few downed trees, others will have to consult insurance companies and find other places to stay as their damage is assessed.
"This could be days without power. Xcel has told us that the infrastructure has been severely damaged," city officials posted on
The storm went through the region fast, moving through a town in fewer than 20 minutes. NWS meteorologists say most areas received about an inch of rain --
Area emergency management personnel had cleared out or deactivated downed power lines in
Meskan could remember when the neighborhood north of
"Now it looks sort of like it does when we first moved in," Meskan said.
"I thought 'cool' and then 'oh sh**,' because it was right next to us," he said.
All classes were canceled Friday in the
"It's kind of a landmark. The steeple is all lit up at night," said
No homes were destroyed in
Elsewhere in the county,
"They have a lot of damage out there," she said. "Trees just fell like dominoes."
Frommie said she and other county officials are tallying up the estimated damage in case it meets the threshold for federal disaster aid: "It's still too early to tell right now."
"It's the first time it's been this bad," he said.
Despite the damage, residents were more than willing to help one another out. Pommeranz noted more and more people showed up throughout Friday morning to help clear brush and bring a chainsaw or two to cut up fallen trees.
"I could not believe how many people have come to help out," she said.
Not everyone was so lucky.
"I ran upstairs quick to try and grab the dogs, looked out the window and ran back down," she said. "It was here, probably five minutes from when the warning came out."
From the basement, Appel heard the house "explode" as she put it. The Appels' garage roof was torn off and some of the walls buckled, and there's structural damage on the western side of the house. Appel and her husband, Jesse, are concerned the house may have shifted off its foundations. They were back at the house Friday morning assessing some of the damage and cleaning up.
No one was hurt -- the family's dogs are OK, and it appears their outdoor cats are safe, albeit shaken and refusing to come out of the nearby treeline. Still, much of the property is in disarray -- a swing set they own was blown about 150 yards away into a makeshift pond caused by the storm.
"We're all safe,"
The cities of
"We did have some storm damage but it wasn't real bad. It could have been a lot worse," said Director of Public Safety
A fallen tree struck a vehicle near the hospital and trees and power lines forced the closure of
Fallen power lines caused electrical system damage to two houses, said Fire Cmdr.
"We were pretty fortunate compared to a lot of them," said Maurer, who spent much of Friday assisting neighboring
Power was still out in
"We'll get through it," Markquart said. "... No fatalities, thank God."
As of Friday afternoon
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