Recovery From Tornado Continues in Chetek

May 18, 2017 07:40 PM

At first sight, the Prairie Lake Estates Mobile Home Park looks like a Hollywood movie set where homes have been blown over or blown up.

But this isn't a movie, it's real life.


RELATED: Emergency Alert System Sounded in Advance of Barron County Tornado, Though Not All Heard

And Donna Michaelson couldn't quite figure out where to get started searching for her stuff.

"I have no idea," she said.

The National Weather Service said the preliminary tornado damage rating from Tuesday's tornado in Barron County, Wisconsin is a strong EF-2, which means winds reached 120 to 130 mph when they ripped through Chetek.

It left major damage in its wake.

And rummaging through the wreckage takes an emotional toll. The few belongings left consist of childrens' books, a bed frame and a four-wheeler. 

RELATED: Wisconsin Tornado Victims Feel Lucky to be Alive

Thursday morning, Michaelson started with a list - writing down what was needed. But she said she quickly stopped and realized the answer was everything.

There are stories like that throughout this mobile home park in Chetek, Wisconsin.      

Josh Halling was thrown out of his trailer, along with his girlfriend Nikki and son.

He said the trailer flipped three or four times. Halling woke up sprawled on the ground with hail pelting him. He was taken to a hospital in Eau Claire for treatment.

RELATED: NWS: Winds Reached up to 130 MPH During Barron County Tornado

"I got a bad cut and a bruise on my arm here," he said. "My face, fractured orbital socket."

But he said his family is in good spirits because they survived. 


Todd Wilson

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