The National Weather Service confirmed the damage Platteville, Wis. experienced in an overnight storm was the cause of an EF2 tornado on the southwest side of town and an EF1 tornado in the city's northeast area.
Glass from blown-out windows injured five people, one of whom went to an area hospital.
The EF2 tornado touched down west of Platteville, according to the NWS, and traveled through the University of Wisconsin-Platteville campus, a residential area and then Business Highway 151, leaving buildings and trees damaged in its path.
Platteville city manager Larry Bierke said the EF2 destroyed 12 homes and damaged 20 more. UW-Platteville had damage to five buildings as well as its greenhouse. Those are residence halls Rountree Commons, Bridgeway Commons and Southwest Hall, as well as Engineering Hall and Pioneer Stadium.
The university canceled classes Tuesday and is canceling them again Wednesday, as it continues to assess and clean up damage from Monday's EF2 tornado. All employees are expected to report Wednesday as scheduled. New student registration is postponed, as well. The campus remains closed to the public. The university will be posting updates to its Facebook page HERE: https://www.facebook.com/#!/UWPlatteville
Buildings damaged along Business Highway 151 include Dairy Queen, the Shell gas station, Dunkin' Donuts, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Bierke said the U-Haul business was heavily impacted as well.
The EF1 tornado appeared near the Platteville Golf and Country Club in the city's northeast side. That tornado knocked the roof off an apartment building and blew over trees.
Both tornadoes appeared around 10:50 p.m. Monday.
Denny Medley's home was in the path of the EF2 tornado. He spent Tuesday clearing debris from his yard and assessing the aftermath, which included blown-out windows and a damaged roof.
"I was laying in bed and I could hear the noise coming, and it just kept getting louder and louder all the time," Medley said Tuesday afternoon, standing in his front yard.
His house is still standing. Some of his neighbors were not so fortunate. Surrounding Medley's house are homes without roofs. One of his next door neighbors lost their entire home. Only its foundation remains.
"It was getting too loud and I thought I'd better look and see what's going on," Medley said. "I looked out the window and I could see all the popping and lights flashing, and I looked at the neighbor's house and I could see it was starting to break apart, so I got out of my bed and headed toward the basement, and as I was going down the basement steps, I could hear my windows starting to break out
On Tuesday, dozens of emergency responders and volunteers went from damaged house to damaged house, asking homeowners if they needed help clearing debris.
"This is where Platteville shines," Bierke said, describing the strong community response to the disaster.
The city set up two cooling stations Tuesday, as at least half the town remained without electricity for the entire day. Emergency responders also set up a station in Harrison Park, near the residential area hardest hit, where people could get water and cool off. The heat proved to be a potentially dangerous factor in Tuesday's clean-up.
Dozens of emergency responders arrived in Platteville early Tuesday morning to help out.
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