The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 13, 2013

Wells hit hard with storm

Golf-ball sized hail, wind caused trees to topple, power to go out

WELLS — The powerful center of a severe thunderstorm struck Wells on Wednesday evening, delivering golf-ball-sized hail. The storm caused trees to topple, branches to break and power to go out.

Strong winds pushed and bent the roof of a large bin at the Watonwan Farm Service grain elevator off its circular walls. It appeared still connected to its auger, as if it kept the roof from crashing to the ground.

Residents in the Wells area Thursday morning said the city received about 3 1/2 inches of rain during the storm. The storm arrived and power went out around 5 p.m., according to Wells Municipal Utility. When the water drained, the streets were littered with grass, leaves, sticks and some branches and trunks.

“It looked like you could mow the street,” said Carla Richards this morning at the Casey’s General Store.She and her husband live six miles north of Wells, where hail struck their barn. They said they witnessed wind roll a small grain bin across a field. They described the hail as loud. They were still without power as of 6:15 a.m. Thursday.

Most of the residents in Wells had power come back on around 4:30 a.m., said Wells police officer Eric Neubauer.

Crews came from Fairmont and Blue Earth to help restore power, he said. He came on duty around 7 p.m. and worked overnight.

“It was eerie to work when it was pitch black,” he said. “There were no lights anywhere.”

As far as he knows, there were no injuries as a result of the storm. Many cars and buildings have dents from the hail, Neubauer said, including his squad car. A metal roof of a Pioneer seed building was blown off, and some homes lost shingles, he said.

Steve Prange was working in Albert Lea when the thunderstorm struck Wells. He arrived at home, 295 First Ave. SE in Wells, to find a tree down in his yard with its limbs on the roof.

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