Tornado spotted near L.M.

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

As storms started brewing in the area late Saturday afternoon, Jeff and Tom Kingland were out at a farm up the road from their house on 430th Street.

For them it was just a normal day out.

They were getting ready to do some more work when they looked up at the clouds, Jeff said. Things got really calm, and there wasn’t even a breeze.

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Then, just a few seconds later, they heard some rumbling in the distance, and it started to downpour.

The wind was blowing the rain sideways — horizontally — and the father and son decided they should head back to the house.

As they were driving home, Jeff said he saw one tornado come down and then go back up, and then another, and then another.

A friend of Jeff’s called to tell of the tornado warning sirens — because they can’t really hear them at their house — and the two headed home.

“From the time we got out of the pickup to the time we went into the house, it was less than a minute before the tornado hit,” he said.

Then, after just a matter of seconds, it was over.

The family walked outside and saw two buildings destroyed, three-fourths of the trees on their property gone and their biggest grain bin flattened.

“The worst is the trees,” Jeff said. “You can’t replace those 100-year-old trees.”

Shingles and siding were also damaged and a playground was picked up and thrown across the yard.

“We knew there were storms coming,” he said. “But you just never know when there’s a tornado.”

Before they started picking up the pieces and cleaning up the debris, they took pictures of the damage.

“It’s a bad thing to have happen, but in 10 years, you’ll want to see pictures of it,” Jeff said.

Reflecting on his experiences over the last two days, Tom said he has been overwhelmed with everything that has happened. But at the same time, he has also been overwhelmed with how many people have come out to help his family in the aftermath of the storms.

The father said he sometimes wonders why he lives in northern Iowa when it gets 20 degrees below zero in the winter, but when he sees the generosity and kindness of the people during times of need, he remembers.

“We’re just glad nobody was hurt,” Tom said. “Everything else can be replaced.”

Though the family will probably have to put new siding and shingles on the house, he was happy the house didn’t get any further damage.

In his words the tornado sounded exactly like a “freight train running right next to his house.”

“That twister can take and pull that up like a toothpick,” he said, pointing to a tree that was uprooted in his yard.

He warned people to take heed of the tornado sirens. If they hear something that sounds like a freight train and think they have time to get to safety, it’s too late.

Jeff estimated that there were probably a total of eight farm sites hit by tornadoes Saturday.