Residents suffer extensive damage in Monday's tornado

It's the earliest reported tornado in La Crosse Co

Residents suffer extensive damage in...

La Crosse County residents are still cleaning up after a tornado ripped through parts of West Salem and Barre Mills this week.

The National Weather Service announced that Monday's tornado was rated EF-1, with wind speeds up to 110 mph.

For residents there, the damage may be great, but they know it could have been much worse.

Kenneth Hauser was winding down Monday evening, just when Mother Nature was winding up.

"There was a big flash of lightning right up here, and the house started to shake,” Hauser said.

It was only afterwards that he realized the full extent of the damage.

"My one boy called me and he said, 'look outside and see if you got any damage,’ I couldn't get out of the door because of this tree,” Hauser said.

Seven trees snapped on his land, including one just feet from his house.

"It could of went on the house if the wind wouldn't have come straight from the south and it come a little more that way,” Hauser said. “It probably would have went on the house, as strong as it was."

Just a few miles north, the Wehrs' family members are doing their own cleanup.

"When I was running down the stairs, I definitely thought the whole house was coming down on me," John Wehrs said.

The Wehrs’ suffered a collapsed porch on their home, and several barns on their farm were either damaged or destroyed.

"A thunderstorm would have been great. We don't mind thunderstorms at all, but (we) definitely were not expecting a tornado, and not expecting the amount of damage out here as well as our neighbors,” Ellen Wehrs said.

Despite the extent of the damage, both families believe they were lucky.

"It could have taken the house, and I could have been buried in there, I guess,” Hauser said.

"We can focus on recovering right here and not have to go to the hospital and visit somebody that was hurt,” Ellen Wehrs said. “Everything here is replaceable."

Both families said it’s too early to determine the cost of how much damage they suffered as a result of Monday's storms.

Despite the damage, the Wehrs family did not lose any animals.

According to the National Weather Service, this is the earliest in the year a tornado has ever been recorded in La Crosse County.

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