Washington County Sheriff, Dan Starry, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS nine homes were severely damaged when a suspected tornado touched down late Sunday afternoon.
“The thing was seen by a spotter, and he reported it touching down near the solar farm at Manning Trail North and Highway 97,” said Starry. “It then cut northeast a little and we have reports of nine homes with severe, bad damage, but no injuries thankfully.”
The storm uprooted trees, knocked down street signs and clipped the top off trees like a buzz saw with dozens of solar panels lifted off their foundation and strewn about three to four hundred yards away from the Scandia solar farm along Highway 97 and Manning Trail North.
Scandia resident, Daniel Kaiser, told KSTP he could hear the storm approaching from the west but with all the rain and heavy clouds, he could not really see what was coming toward his home.
“It was not easy to see anything flying around, but you could hear it and it happened very quick,” said Kaiser. “I don’t think it lasted more than 15 seconds and then it was done, and that’s when I could see what happened in my yard.”
Kaiser said he felt lucky the storm did not do any damage to his home, but he was a bit surprised to see how much damage was done to his trees and yard after such a quick burst of energy from the skies.
“It’s when I went outside and saw what happened, then I realized how bad it was,” said Kaiser. “My pine trees are about 30 years old and they were tossed over like nothing and those solar panels are all over the place from across the road.”
Kaiser said his wife and two young sons were also home and no one was injured.
by Jay Kolls (2019, July 28) KSTP