Traer farm decimated by tornado - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Traer farm decimated by tornado

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Denny Berger didn't ever plan on leaving his farm North of Traer, but especially not like this.

"Basically, we're moving out," he said.

An EF-2 tornado tore through Traer and the surrounding area Monday afternoon. Generations have lived on the Berger farm since 1961.

"I mean, it just leveled everything, spared nothing," Berger said. "I guess it doesn't really care what it spares."

Machine sheds were flattened, windows on the house shattered, and metal sheeting was folded around a tree branch like paper. Berger estimates the property to be a total loss, over $1 million.

"I can't imagine the power," he said of the tornado.

Grain bins were ripped from the foundations, and thrown around the property.

"The bin came over and just flattened all the windbreak trees," Berger said, pointing at the destruction. "Anything in its path."

Denny's son, Scott, will inherit the farm someday.

"I thought we might have gotten lucky, but I think we took the worst end of it," he said.

He was five hours away when he heard what happened.

"It's one of those gut feelings you just can't get rid of," he said.

Now, cleaning out his boyhood home, the memories come flooding back.

"That's the house I grew up in," he said. "It's sick, you know, I always said I wanted to tear it down and build a new one. I don't know, now that I'm in the present of doing it, it's hard."

Denny, on the other hand, is hanging on to his sense of humor, putting up a 'For Sale By Owner' sign out front. He said whatever happens next, they're ready.

Tuesday, the family had plenty of help from volunteers in cleaning up.

"We'll rebuild better," he said. "That's what every disaster does, makes you better."

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