The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 21, 2012

Janesville farmstead gets brunt o f tornado damage

JANESVILLE — A Janesville-area farm appears to be the dubious winner in the damage sweepstakes from Monday’s tornadic storm.

The Martin Sexton farmstead received extensive damage to a large machinery shed, hog building and farm equipment. A grain bin was flung into a wooded area and two large evergreens were plucked from the ground, one falling onto a garage.

“The only good thing is the equipment we need for spring never got touched,” said Sexton’s nephew, Derek Sexton. Lately he’s been helping work the farm with father Steven Sexton while Martin Sexton recovers from a heart attack.

The early evening storm that struck primarily the Elysian/Lake Francis area brought a combo platter of 85 mph straight-line and downburst winds and a tornado the National Weather Service rated an EF-0, the weakest on a scale of 0-5.

Le Sueur County Emergency Management Director Ann Traxler said 50 properties received storm damage. She said it’s unlikely an official tabulation of total dollar damage will be done because it wouldn’t be enough to qualify for federal disaster aid.

When the storm struck, no one was home at the Sexton farm, three miles north of Janesville on the east side of Lake Elysian.

Steven Sexton was outside his home three miles away when the rains came. He said he hurried inside and a few minutes later all was calm.

“I sat down to have a little supper and a neighbor called and asked me if I had seen (Martin’s) place.”

Moments later he came upon what the neighbor was talking about.

The house on the property received only minor damage, and though the  hog barn was heavily damaged, there were no livestock deaths or injuries amid the flying debris.

 Derek Sexton said he’s grateful for that.

“I didn’t want to have to start shooting them if there was something stuck in them.”

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