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hampton chronicle ● sheffield press

THE DAY OF THE TORNADO

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Eyewitness accounts and the aftermath of Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

“All of a sudden, the wind picked up. The truck moved. The car moved. The trees began to fall down.”

Inside Features: Eyewitness interviews, photos of the multiple tornados that struck Northern Iowa and the destruction they left behind. Hampton Chronicle & Sheffield Press Special Edition June 19, 2013

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013 THE DAY OF THE TORNADO

Hampton chronicle ● sheffield press

The Path of the Storm

By Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle Much of Franklin County was spared considerable damage despite the onslaught of tornadoes that nailed the area late Wednesday afternoon. According to the National Weather Service, an EF3 tornado hit the northside of Belmond in eastern Wright County around 4:20 p.m. and caused heavy damage to businesses and residences. Winds reached 155 miles per hour as it went on a 4-mile long tear. The EF3 averaged a width of 200 yards and scattered debris throughout the entire north portion of the city.

Another tornado, this one an EF0, briefly touched down northwest of Belmond but caused little damage. The storm moved eastward but dissipated before it reached Alexander. However, an EF1 twister touched down just outside the city limits and continued on a 3.8-mile path towards Latimer. “I was just hoping everyone was in their basements and safe,” said Alexander Fire Chief Jason Pals. “We saw the one coming from the west, but then looked north and saw the other one.” Tornado No. 3 continued on its eastward path and damaged some trees, but stayed in

Tornado Scale

Tornados are classified according to their wind speeds as follows:

EF0 EF1 EF2 EF3 EF4 EF5

65 to 85 mph.

86 to 110 mph.

111 to 135 mph.

136 to 165 mph. 166 to 200 mph.

Greater than 200 mph.

6 twisters tear through area, largest ranks EF3

This tornado was spotted west of Chapin. The photo was taken near the intersection of 210th Street and Mallard Avenue. It was head towards the southeast at the time. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle) open country for the most part. As it dissipated, a fourth tornado, this one an EF2, touched down north of Alexander and went on a 5.2mile tear. “I’ve never seen one before, it was kind of strange,” said Pals, who was weatherspotting the storm along with other trained Alexander firefighters. “It was so big, but it seemed like it was moving so slow.”

The EF2 left damaged farm houses, barns and other outbuildings in its wake. AccordAs one twister dissipated, another tried to start. Dirt and debris began to ing the National Weather Service’s report, swirl (left hand corner), but nothing formed. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampthe tornado’s winds reached 112 miles per ton Chronicle) hour and its width averaged 200 yards. The twister pulled back into the clouds “I’ve seen funnel clouds before, but you could roughly one mile northwest of Latimer beactually see this one,” said Hampton Fire Chief Kent fore reaching Interstate 35. The storm had weakened, but it wasn’t finished. A fifth torWilkinson. “It looked like it was heading straight for town.”


hampton chronicle ● sheffield press

THE DAY OF THE TORNADO

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

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nado touched down three miles northeast of Latimer and damaged trees and some farm outbuildings on its 3.5-mile path. As the EF1 tornado headed towards Hamp7 ton, a sixth twister stretched down from the sky and created a rather intimidating scene. 8 2 Two tornadoes were now barrelling through the countryside at the same time. 1 3 “I’ve seen funnel clouds before, but you 5 9 could actually see this one,” said Hampton Fire Chief Kent Wilkinson. “It looked like it 4 was heading straight for town.” Despite the dramatic scene, the dualing tornadoes were shortlived. The smaller of the two pulled up and the larger one soon followed as the cell progressed eastward towards Hampton. Many trained spotters were 6 tracking the cell as it approached the area surrounding the city. It seemed another tornado was likely, as the storm’s volatile history gave stormwatchers little reason to believe otherwise. The map above depicts tornado touch downs as well as damage reports from June 12, 2013. The weather radar “It looked like it finally quit at Beeds reflects June 12, at 5:14 P.M. CDT Lake, but it was teasing us for a while after

Tornado Touch Downs June 12, 2013*

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3 miles E Alexander

Report of damaged outbuilding and grain bin

5 miles NNE Latimer

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8 miles NW Hampton

Cerro Gordo dispatch reported that the public saw a tornado on the ground on the west side of Interstate 35 at mile marker 173, or 5 miles north northeast of Latimer

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5 miles NW Hampton

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5 miles N Hampton

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1 mile W Hampton

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1 mile N Belmond

1 mile NW Belmond

Spotter just south of Hampton sees tornado on ground 5 miles northwest of Latimer. Debris cloud visible.

Cerro Gordo dispatch recieved a call from a spotter that a tornado was on the ground 5 miles north of Hampton or southeast of Chapin Spotter reports two tornados west of Hampton heading east. Wright County reported tornado damage with power lines down and a possible lp gas leak

Tornado on ground. Multiple reports from law enforcement and trained spotters. Location estimated.

Damage reported on the north side of Belmond with several businesses damaged/destroyed. Additional damage to residential areas reported north of town with outbuilding. *One tornado can make multiple touch downs

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(Photo by Barb Smith, Hampton Chronicle)

Belmond

Trained spotter reported a second, rope tornado, south of main wall cloud, main tornado becoming obscured by rain.

that,” said Franklin County Sheriff Larry Richtsmeier, who was monitoring the storm along with eight other officers throughout the county. Swirls of dirt and other debris could be seen on the ground periodically as the storm moved towards Hampton. However, nothing ever developed. “I’ve been in law enforcement since 1977, and before yesterday I had only ever seen two funnel clouds, never a touchdown,” said Richtsmeier. “Yesterday, I saw eight. They were most likely the same one touching down multiple times, but it was a lot.” Though the National Weather Service confirmed six tornadoes, Franklin County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve O’Neil said it’s possible more touched down. The twisters hit in broad daylight and had many eyewitnesses. O’Neil said conflicting reports have made pinning down the storm’s details difficult. “We’ll probably never know for sure. I think a lot of people saw the same tornado

touching down more than once, which is common in the daytime,” he said. Two homes sustained major damage, 14 had minor damage and 14 outbuildings were completely destroyed, according to O’Neil. Damages to Howard Enterprises, Cattleman’s Steak & Provisions and some north Belmond residences were the most extensive. The cell took around 45 minutes to cross all of Franklin County after the first tornado touched down in eastern Wright County. According to many local residents, it was the most destructive storm in over three decades. Surprisingly, no injuries were reported by county police and fire departments when they checked on area farms after the cell had passed. The storm’s afternoon arrival allowed people reasonable time to seek shelter, said O’Neil. “Having a tornado is not lucky, but we were very lucky that no one was hurt,” he said. “A lot of things were very favorable for Franklin County that day.”

Two miles North of Harrison Park off Route 65 Hampton, IA at 5:12 P.M. (Photo by Jonathan Watt)


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Wednesday, June 19, 2013 THE DAY OF THE TORNADO

Hampton chronicle ● sheffield press

The Aftermath This used to be a barn belonging to Karole and Jim Harms of Alexander. Photos by Jeff Forward, Hampton Chronicle.

In Alexander for summer, local family home hit by tornado

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By Jeff Forward, Hampton Chronicle

im and Karole Harms had only been at their family summer home outside of Alexander for three days when last Wednesday’s series of tornadoes swept through multiple counties, wreaking havoc on businesses, homes, and local farms. The couple emerged from the tornadoes unscathed physically, but their farm and home suffered extensive damage. Karole Harms said it was a normal day at their 1842 Eagle Avenue home when she heard the storm. “I was inside; I headed down the basement,” Karole Harms said. “Just heard the noise and the windows blew.”

Nail-studded metal roofing, pieces of doors, and obliterated trees dotted a corn field to the east of their home. The couple’s pick-up truck was in the driveway with minor damage, but a family sedan had been lifted into the air by the tornado, spun around, and dropped 10 feet away in the middle of their front yard – most of its windows blown out.

She said that when it was all over, she looked outside and their family barn had been totally destroyed and a steel grain bin had been toppled over and carried across her yard by the twister.

“It looks like the machine shed…looks like it’s been pulverized,” Karole Harms added. “It was scary. I think I’m going back to Texas.” Karole Harms was busy in the storm’s aftermath assessing damage, making telephone calls to relatives and the insurance company, but most importantly trying to find her two cats – Maggie and Max. “I thought they were inside, but they must’ve been outside,” she said. “I can’t find them; I hope they’re OK.” Emergency workers from Mid American Energy were busy working on the downed power lines in front of the Harms’ home while neighbors pitched in to clean up what they could. The tornado – from what the elderly couple could assess – made a direct hit on their barn before moving past their home only 25 yards to the north, crossing Eagle Avenue and proceeding southeast toward Interstate 35, leaving a massive trail of debris in its wake.

A line of trees that was behind their home was partially destroyed and sticks, twigs, and branches were driven into the siding of their house by the intensity of the twister. “That’s maybe what saved us,” Karole Harms said of the tree line. While his wife worked on the clean up, Jim Harms stood in his driveway slowly puffing on a tobacco pipe. His freckled hands shook and he looked into the distance when he described the momentary madness that the storm brought to his farm – which his family has owned for more than 100 years. “I was standing right here,” he said, pointing to a spot near the corner of his garage. “All of a sudden, the wind picked up. The truck moved. The car moved. The trees began to fall down. Then, it was over.” Looking around the yard before sitting down in a lawn check next to Karole, Jim said he’d never been in a tornado. “I peeked around the corner, and the barn was gone,” he added. “It happened so dang fast. It was here, then it was gone. I could’ve been killed.”

Karole Harms stands outside her Eagle Avenue home near Alexander which was hit by Wednesday’s tornado. Sticks from nearby trees were driven into the siding of her home by the force of the winds.

This car - owned by Karole and Jim Harms of Alexander - was picked up from their driveway and dropped about 10 feet away during Wednesday’s tornadoes.


hampton chronicle ● sheffield press

THE DAY OF THE TORNADO

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

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Go to hamptonchronicle. com to watch exclusive video interviews with the Harms and Humburg families.

Dawn Humburg tries to relax after surviving a tornado that went over her property along 180th Avenue. Photos by Jeff Forward, Hampton Chronicle.

Humburg family hunkered down when twister hit By Jeff Forward, Hampton Chronicle Dawn Humburg and her son Michael are glad to be alive after Wednesday’s tornado swept over their 180th Avenue home, blowing out windows, destroying barns and outbuildings, and knocking over massive trees throughout their yard. “All I heard was a horrible sound come over and I yelled at my son and got him down in the corner,” Dawn Humburg said, describing when the twister swept through their property. “I sat on him to keep him from blowing out.” Fourteen-year-old son Michael said he’d been in several tornadoes in his life but this one was different. “None that sounded this deadly,” Michael said of Wednesday’s twister. “It was, like,

wow! I was in a ball.” Dawn and her son, Michael, were home alone when the tornado hit, however family patriarch Paul Humburg was at work when he heard the news of the storm and tornadoes. He immediately left work for the family home to check on the safety of his wife and son. “It is scary,” Paul Humburg said of the idea of tornadoes hitting the home while he wasn’t there. “Getting over here, I saw a couple of funnel clouds. There’s (storm) watchers out there. I’m grateful for them.” Paul and Dawn walked around the property – which is owned by Ron Palmer – surveying the damage while workers acted quickly to board up broken windows on the

This machine shop behind the Humburg home was partially destroyed by Wednesday’s tornado.

house. Paul Humburg gazed at the remains of their barn, which had finally toppled over after being damaged by heavy snows this past winter. The tornado was the final straw in its demise. The family dog house was hurled through the yard and rested against the house, but its inhabitant was OK, Dawn Humburg said. As he continued to look at the damage, Paul Humburg shook his head in amazement. “That building there,” Paul said pointing to a semi-crushed shed laying in their yard, “was on top of the cement there.” About a dozen chickens and numerous ducks milled about in the debris while sev-

eral of the family cats scurried amongst the neighbors and family members at the home for support. Fighting back tears while smoking a cigarette and sipping from a can of Mountain Dew, Dawn Humburg said this was her third tornado she’s experienced. “They get worse and worse and worse,” she said of having to live through several twisters. “It’s very scary, but I’m very thankful we made it.” Although the home was severely damaged, no one was injured, which was a relief to Paul Humburg, who said tornadoes are part of life in Iowa. “You never know what to expect,” Paul said. “(But) I love living in Iowa.”

“We have more than 40 high def TVs, can seat more than burgers in town.”

This tree was uprooted in the front yard of the seven-hundred people, and have the best Humburg family on 180th Avenue.


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Wednesday, June 19, 2013 THE DAY OF THE TORNADO

Hampton chronicle ● sheffield press

Bird’s-eye View A special thank you to Jay Schumann of Schumann Aviation for giving us the opportunity to catch these viewpoints.

A building was leveled and farm equipment damaged at the Duane Barkema farm. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

Heavy damage was visible at the Dirk Dirksen farm. A haymow on the property had its roof completely torn off and outbuildings were hammered in Wednesday’s storm. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

The path of the EF3 tornado that hit Belmond was evident as debris from buildings was scattered throughout all of the north portion of town. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

Cattleman’s Steaks & Provisions in Belmond sustained significant damage from the EF3 tornado. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

Another angle of Cattleman’s Steaks & Provisions, it shows the large swath of destruction caused by Wednesday’s tornado. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)


hampton chronicle â—? sheffield press

THE DAY OF THE TORNADO

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

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The path of one tornado, (shown to the right of the white arrow) most likely that of the EF0 that touched down northwest of Belmond, was visible in this field on the west edge of town. Five tornadoes touched down as part of a dangerous storm cell that affected parts of Wright and Franklin counties Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

Another angle shows the EF3 tornado’s path of destruction from the northwest. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

Fires smoldered and debris was strewn about at the Ken Dorenkamp farm north of Alexander Thursday. The farm was damaged by one of five tornadoes that hit the area late Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

A haymow at the Dirk Dirksen Farm was ripped apart along with other outbuildings Wednesday. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

The path of the EF3 tornado that hit Belmond was evident as debris from buildings was scattered throughout all of the north portion of town. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

Debris filled a portion of the pond and landed in a field at the Marvin Redenius residence on the north side of Belmond. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)


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Wednesday, June 19, 2013 THE DAY OF THE TORNADO

Hampton chronicle â—? sheffield press

One last glimpse

The tornado that touched down north of Latimer at its widest could be seen from Highway 3 between Lark Ave. and Kildeer Ave. (Kristi Nixon/Hampton Chronicle)

This tornado was spotted west of Chapin. The photo was taken near the intersection of 210th Street and Mallard Avenue. It was head towards the southeast at the time. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

This tornado was spotted west of Chapin Wednesday afternoon. The twister was headed southeast. This photo was taken on Hwy. 65 just east of Chapin. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

The larger of the two simultaneous tornadoes remained on the ground longer than its thinner counterpart. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

This twister touched down for a brief period Wednesday in rural Hampton northwest of town. (Photo by Nick Pedley, Hampton Chronicle)

If you would like your own copies of any of the photos you see in this special edition or others from the storm stop by the Hampton Chronicle today! 9 - 2nd Street NW, Hampton, 641-456-2585


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