By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been just over a month since a devastating tornado tore through western Wisconsin, with wind speeds as fast as 165 miles per hour.

Since the tornado came through Pine Meadows Mobile Home Park in Elk Mound, a lot has been cleaned up, but there’s still a lot left to do. Some people are waiting on new homes to arrive before they can move back.

Johnson said he’ll never forget the night of Tuesday, Sept. 24.

“You could feel the walls in the trailer house, wanting to lift off the ground,” Dennis Johnson said, “and sure enough, there was a tornado. We could see it right from the window there. It was just really loud. I mean really loud.”

It left behind a path of destruction that people throughout the county are still recovering from. Little remains of Norm and Helen Johnson’s home. The EF3 tornado sucked 94-year-old Norm out of a second floor window. Neighbors said he suffered broken forearms and is recovering in assisted living. Thankfully, 95-year-old Helen made it out safe.

“The setting up of trailers. All the electrical, the gas lines, plumbing, it all needs to be done,” Max Gehler said, talking about homes in Pine Meadows.

Rain and even frost has impacted some of the progress and the race is on to get as much squared away before winter as possible. Fields that were once scattered with debris blown in from miles away, are now clean. At Pine Meadows, the goal is a return to normalcy.

“We’re getting there. It’s going to take a little bit of time yet, but we are getting there,” Dennis Johnson said.

John Lauritsen

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