Lewistown tornado leaves its mark

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LEWISTOWN — Bill Nayden watched a tornado hit his Native Trails Winery on Saturday.

On Sunday he was caught up in a whirlwind — a welcome one of activity — as friends and family came from as far as Chicago to help with cleanup.

“I was in the winery when it hit,” said Nayden, 69. “A couple guys who had been out hunting finished up and came up for a drink, because I was still open.

“The rain picked up and then the wind started and we knew we were in trouble. We moved to a sturdier spot, and I turned to look out the doorway and saw (portions of the structure) just fly off.”

Sunday, in 40-degree temperatures and light rain, the tornado’s path was exposed, and so was its damage.

“We had two barns destroyed,” said Nayden’s son, Zach, as he watched his father try to save a $60,000 tractor from a barn that was on the verge of collapse. “The winery pavilion is gone, and the vineyard is destroyed, several vehicles are lost.

“We just dropped the insurance on this barn, too. Unreal. Our early estimate here is a total $500,000 in damage. We’re going to need help.

“Anyone know how to set up those online funding accounts?”

Further down from Nayden’s place on North County Highway 9, several massive trees were toppled, roots showing. An RV appeared to be pushed over on its side. Roof damage, trees down, everything you’d expect.

Across the street from Nayden’s winery, the Van Pelt family surveyed the side of their garage, which looked like it had been caved in.

A boat from the Nayden’s was in the field next to the Van Pelt home. In the back yard, well … “The trees look like it snowed (debris),” Cristie Van Pelt said.

Daughter Kaitie, a senior at Lewistown High School, was home alone with Maggie, the family’s lab, when the tornado hit around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We got to the basement, and I heard what sounded like metal scraping by the stairs,” Kaitie Van Pelt said. “But we’re fine.”

Lewistown police on Sunday said there were no injuries or rescues needed in the aftermath, and that all residents were accounted for. Damage appeared to be isolated to the outlying areas of the town.

by Dave Eminian (2018, Dec 2) The State Journal-Register

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Kyrie Wagner