Tornado damaged homes, farm, cornfields and caused power outages in Silver Lake

Updated: July 28, 2019 11:57 PM

The sirens sounded in Hutchison, Biscay and Silver Lake in McLeod County Sunday afternoon.

Families who were home knew what that meant and took cover quickly. The Schultz family who lives on Fox Avenue near Highway 7 was one of those families.

"I watched the tornado come down the cornfield and thought it looks like it's coming our way, so me, my husband and mother-in-law, along with our two dogs went into the bathroom, shut the door and went down into the basement and it was over so quick so I thought oh good it maybe took down a few trees but then I came outside and saw this, it's a mess," Cheryl Schultz said.

RELATED: Suspected tornado severely damages 9 Washington County homes, no injuries reported

The twister made a mess of the property that has been in the Schultz family for 50-plus years.  Pastures were flattened and sheds took a beating, but no one was physically hurt.  And while they still had the light of day, the Schultzes began the tedious cleanup process. Their home had minor damage, but nothing that would keep them from sleeping there Sunday night. 

Across the highway, Gary Bennett's home was a different story.  He happened to be up north fishing for the weekend and was heading back when the twister blew through.  When he arrived home, he was floored.  Windows were blown out, flying debris did a number to his roof, huge mature trees were torn apart and some big branches crash-landed on power lines, creating another kind of danger. 

RELATED: Tornadoes hit Minnesota, western Wisconsin

Xcel Energy crews were out and warned Bennett, the media and bystanders to stay away because the downed power lines could be live.  As Bennett walked around his property, he hesitated to get too close because, the McLeod County Sheriff's Offiice issued a clear message.

"Be cautious. there are widow makers out here, branches of trees that are at a 45-degree angle waiting to fall on something any moment,"Bennett said.

McLeod County Emergency Management Director Kevin Mathews surveyed four properties with extensive damage.

"This appears to be caused by a wedge tornado instead of the little rope ones that come down," Mathews said. "This was a wider tornado, on the ground for longer, packed higher winds and cause more damage."

Mathews said the residents survived the tornado and he stopped by to offer help and make sure they survive the recovery as well.

As of Sunday night, no one reported any injuries.  Power crews set up trucks and equipment to begin repairing the down lines and perhaps to restore electricity in the area. 

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Beth McDonough

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