Strong winds, hail cause major damage in Andover, Bristol areas

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Farm Forum

A shed did a cartwheel over another shed Monday night, caused by 80 to 90 mph winds that hit the Andover area.

Straight-line winds picked up a 60-foot-by-80-foot shed and “set it right there,” said farmer David Olson, pointing to a pile of metal across from another shed with roof damage. It’s the second year in a row that weather destroyed the sheds there, he said.

“Last year we had that terrible hail storm that went through here and we had to replace the tin on all the buildings because of the hail,” he said. “We got 100 percent hailed out here last year.”

Olson kept smiling, though, because of good neighbors who showed up to help clean up.

The Day County Emergency Management Director Wes Williams visited the site and said he had never seen a shed pulled up from the ground like that.

“That was impressive,” he said. “Mother Nature at her fury.”

It will be a long road ahead for those who had damage, but no one was hurt by the wind or hail, Williams said. Hail like arrowheads with sharp points went through and chopped down crops and trees in a path probably 6 to 10 miles wide and roughly 12 miles long, he added.

“There’s a lot of stuff that got beat up, a lot of stuff that got totaled. Four different farmsteads that lost buildings,” he said. “Lots of different areas in Andover and Bristol had damage into the city as far as trees and power lines, siding, windows. But again, I emphasize no one got hurt. We can replace and fix.”

There was lots of crop damage from the storm that started in northern Brown County, said Kelly Serr, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The system worked its way across Brown County to Andover and Bristol in Day County where it started to diminish. A majority of the damage was in Day County, she added.

There was a wide area of damage from wind-driven hail, she said.

In Groton, large tree branches broke and some trees were downed by the wind and hail, Serr said. When the storm reached Andover, it broke windows, caused siding damage on homes and damaged or destroyed smaller outbuildings at Threshermans Park. Winds were likely 80 to 90 mph when it hit Andover, she said.

One of the places hardest-hit was a mile east of Andover where the top of a barn was taken down and a large metal building was blown a quarter-mile across the highway, Serr said. Winds could have been in excess of 90 mph at that point.

There was more damage down the road toward Bristol, including several train cars derailing and Olson’s shed upending.

In Bristol, there was mostly fallen tree damage, she said.

Damage was caused by straight-line winds and hail, Serr said.

“But just because the wind was moving in one direction and it wasn’t spinning like a tornado, it still does the same damage,” she added.

While teams from the NWS were out investigating Tuesday, crop insurance agents were also out offering assistance where needed.

Damage to crops ranged from light to severe. The lesser damage will reduce a farmer’s yield, said Tom Woods, crop insurance agent with Farm Credit Services of America. In other instances, complete fields were wiped out, he said.

There appeared to be wind, hail and heavy rain crop damage from between Groton and Aberdeen to between Bristol and Webster along U.S. Highway 12, he said. The damaged crops include corn and soybeans, as well as some wheat not yet harvested, alfalfa and feed crops for cattle.

Crop insurance doesn’t give farmers 100 percent of what they would have gotten had they sold their crops.

“They’d much rather have a bountiful crop than have to rely on insurance to try and make it,” Woods said.

Tips for weather safety from Kelly Serr, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service:

• Wind-driven hail can shatter glass.

• It’s good to have a way to receive weather warnings, even at night. Weather radios or cell phone apps will give alerts when people are asleep.

• The safest place to be during a storm is in a basement or storm shelter.