Storm Cleanup Continues in Northfield, Cannon Falls

September 22, 2018 09:15 PM

It’s been two days since severe storms moved through Northfield, leveling the popular wedding venue Red Barn Farm.

Salvaging what's left, owner Pat Winter told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he’s grateful.


“Tired but happy I'm alive,” he said. “I didn't know if we would be buried alive or just squashed. I wasn't sure we were going to come out of there.”

He and a dozen other people took shelter under the barn as the storm destroyed their livelihood above.

RELATED: Cannon Falls Cleans Up After Destructive Storms 

When word of the damage got out on Friday, the community pitched in to help them recover.

“From sunup to sundown, we had probably a good 50 people out here, a dozen chainsaws operating, people showed up with generators,” said Winter.

He said he only knew about half of the volunteers, the rest were strangers. They cleared the yard around the flattened wedding venue.

“It may not look the best but it looks way better than yesterday,” said Winter.

There are weddings booked at the venue every weekend this fall, including one on Friday and one on Saturday.

“A lot of venues have reached out and just with openings and caterers and so forth and I think all of them but one so far have a place,” said Winter.

He said he plans to rebuild by next wedding season.

“You gotta keep on moving that way you can digest it in pieces and stay sane,” he said. “It keeps your spirits up.”

The path of devastation could be seen on the next hill, where two turkey barns were destroyed.

In nearby Cannon Falls, people were still out of power nearly two days after the storm hit.

“It’s hard because I have a well so I can't even get water in my house right now because you need electricity to do the well,” said Nancy Libersky.

RELATED: RAW VIDEO: Chopper 5 Captures Tornado Damage in Southern Minnesota 

As they waited anxiously for Xcel Energy crews, people throughout town worked on clearing all of the fallen trees.

More than a dozen trees had toppled or been snapped in half at Hannah’s Bend Park.

“Everyone’s trying to help out, get together and help each other,” said Ben Holland, who stopped by the park to see the damage.


Callan Gray

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