Residents remember tornado, 3 years after it hit

Green Bay St. resident was home when the tornado hit

Thursday marks three years since a tornado tore through the part of La Crosse.

In the hours after the tornado rolled through you couldn’t drive down Green Bay street on the south side, there were too many trees down. Houses were missing windows, some were missing roofs.

Today that damage is gone but the residents who lived through it will never forget.

Even though it’s been three years since a tornado ripped through La Crosse, Chuck Groth remembers it clear as a bell. “It got real bad, real quick,” said Groth.

Groth and his wife were home when the tornado hit. The plan was to reach a shelter in the back yard, but that plan quickly fell apart. “She couldn’t get the back door open,” said Groth, “so she said what should be do and I say’s well, get in the bathroom, so we got in the tub, bout that time started exploding the windows out.”

Luckily the Groths rode the storm out without a scratch, their house wasn’t so lucky.  It sustained damage to the roof, siding and windows.

The rest of the neighborhood was hit hard too, bad enough that Governor Scott Walker surveyed the damage, making a stop in Groth’s yard.

Today the house is as good as new, so is most of the neighborhood. There are still small reminders in his neighborhood, not that Groth needs a reminder of the power of that storm. “We’re very conscious of the weather now,” said Groth, “chances are it will never happen again but going through it, I choose not to do it again.”

It took Groth about four months to get his house repaired. Even though he did more of the work himself, it still cost about $30,000.

The tornado cut a three-mile path through La Crosse before moving on to Sparta.