Turtle Lake, Wis. (WCCO) – The National Weather Service has confirmed two confirmed tornadoes hit western Wisconsin Friday night. One was on the ground near Turtle Lake for about six minutes. The EF-0 tornado packed winds as strong as 75 miles per hour.

Hundreds of people in Polk and Barron counties are still without power Monday night.

As drivers glance across the fields at Turtle Lake High School, it’s impossible to miss the twisted and torn remnants of Friday’s destructive storm.

“It’s gonna take a little time to rebuild, but we’ll be ready when school starts,” superintendent Kent Kindschy said.

Recently-built dugouts were ripped from the screws with trees toppling onto fields, but Kindschy knows it’s the families in town that got it much worse.

“It’s been pretty traumatic. Lot of people lost power, lost a lot of their trees in their yards and just can’t get around the way they used to,” Kindschy said.

And they can’t clean up the way they’d like to.

“We have no power and of course without power we have no water,” Jon Young said.

Lucky for Young, the high school has opened its doors so people have a place to shower.

“We’ve been using the lake,” Young said.

Kindschy says dozens of people have used the school’s shower this weekend – a chance to freshen up after a hard day’s work of chopping trees and clearing brush.

“Well that’s the kind of community this is and also the kind of leadership we have in the community,” Young said.

“We’re a community school and we want to serve the community and give back to everyone that’s helped us out in the past,” Kindschy said.

The school and its showers will be open from 6-10 each night until further notice. People are also encouraged to use the school’s Wi-Fi if needed.

Jeff Wagner

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