Manchester area ‘is changed forever’

Published 12:23 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

MANCHESTER — Terry Gjersvik had spent a portion of Thursday night, along with 20 or 30 others, helping a neighbor get hogs out of a hog house where a roof had collapsed.

Friday morning, Gjersvik drove into Albert Lea to buy a chainsaw so he could clean up the downed trees on his garage and other parts of his property.

He was shocked at what he saw along the way.

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Two miles west on County Road 25, where a house used to stand, there’s nothing left but 8-foot-tall oak trees. There are clothes littering the trees. “A woman and three kids were in the house, but they’re OK,” Gjersvik said.

“I know of four or five more places like this — they’re just gone,” he said.

He said he ran into a family from Armstrong while he was in town. “I didn’t have the heart to ask them where they slept,” he said.

Gjersvik and his wife, Dara, ran to their basement at 70353 255th St., Alden, as the storm neared Thursday night. He said the electricity went out about 6:50 p.m. and the storm passed over about 7. The family was will without electricity Friday.

The couple consider themselves fortunate. Some shingles, siding and flashing are gone from their house, but at least it’s dry. “I probably know of 10 more places with tarps on the roof,” he said.

“We’re feeling devastated, but we’re grateful we still have a house,” Dara said.

From what Terry Gjersvik could tell, the tornado took a path from Armstrong straight north.

“The landscape is changed forever,” he said.

Mike “Bass” Skov, co-owner of The Bend in the Road, said about 20 people were in the Manchester bar when the sirens sounded. They opted to stay put, he said, and all watched funnels drop to the west, north and east, he said.

He said a tornado came within about a mile and a half of the bar. “Up the road to the west, a barn and house are both gone.”

When Skov left the bar around 11 p.m., there were still a few people hanging out.

Karl and Angie Eggum and their family spent early Friday trying to salvage what they could from the wreckage of their home and outbuildings at 69842 230th St., Karol Held, Angie’s mother, said Karl and the couple’s daughter were at home when the tornado hit and had gone to the basement.

“A lot of things in the area were hit,” Held said.