MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the second time this month, people in Polk County, Wisconsin are cleaning up after severe weather.
You can’t help but look at the farm on the east shore of Bone Lake and see the devastation. But when you look a little closer at the flurry of cleanup activity, you’ll get a picture of community.
That’s where friends, neighbors and even strangers are showing up and helping out.
Heaving hefty chainsaws and scraps of tin, the teams of volunteers are clearing the rubble that once was a farm.
“You can’t describe it, there are no words,” Maya Monteith said, choking up with emotion.
Monteith is thinking of the barn, pole buildings and silos scattered across the property in ruins. Still, she’s so thankful that her three children, 15 horses and three dogs escaped the tornado unscathed.
“When your 17- year-old calls screaming on the phone, she was sitting on the couch when the window blew out, she called her sisters and they were running for the basement,” Monteith said.
Just down the hill from the farm, what normally is a scene of leisure is anything but. It’s the second time in 10 days that the east shore of Bone Lake was hit hard by powerful storms.
Jason Hohn said his family had left for home earlier in the afternoon. When he was looked out over the lake to the ominous sky, he hunkered down in his garage.
“Then I started to peak out and see what was going on and saw my boat lift up and our docks twist up. It was over in a few minutes but it’s sure a mess,” Hohn said.
Dale VanBlaricom’s family log cabin, just north of Hohn’s, was crushed by a massive white pine. He will wait to examine the structure before deciding if it will be rebuilt or repaired.
“It’s bad luck, I don’t know what to say,” Hohn said.
That’s because on Sunday, just hours before the tornado hit, residents of the area had just cleared the last of the trees dropped by the July 19 storm.
With helping hands, they’ll clean-up the mess and rebuild again.
“I don’t remember their names, they just jumped in and started helping out,” Monteith said.
On Monday, the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities confirmed that the damage on the northeast side of Bone Lake was caused by a tornado.
Our storm survey crew that is out in Polk County has determined that damage on the Northeast side of Bone Lake was caused by a tornado. They continue to survey and we will have more info later. #wiwx
— NWS Twin Cities (@NWSTwinCities) July 29, 2019