Tornado clean-up underway for Prairieburg - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tornado clean-up underway for Prairieburg

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A community caught right in the eye of a devastating tornado is determined to work through the storm's destruction. Wasting no time, neighbors, and surrounding area crews began a long process of clean-up after a tornado hit Prairieburg Wednesday night. 

"It seemed like it was three... four...five... minutes," said Tom Kluesner. 

Kluesner watched the tornado in its path, before sending his family to take cover in the basement. When he came out, he saw it's path of destruction-ripping through town, crushing fields of crops. 

The National Weather Service's preliminary rating for the tornado is an EF-2. Aerial views show much of the damage to the southern part of town. Some neighbors experiencing debris tossed around in their yard, but their homes left standing. 

The tornado hit hard within just minutes, but left the people in Prairieburg with hours of cleanup.

Prairieburg Fire Chief Brock Wilson says his crews haven't wasted any time, stopping late last night but picking right up again this morning. 

"We're pretty fortunate that most of the farmers around here own a lot of their own heavy equipment so they have donated a lot of their time, and their excavators and their skid loaders and they're running all over the place," said Wilson. 

Crews poured in from surrounding areas to help people in town with the clean-up. 

Tom Walker, who's lived in his house for more than fifty years, is still in shock after seeing the very trees he planted-ripped apart by the fierce storm. 

"Yeah, it come quick and when it came it was just big bang and it was over," said Walker. "I didn't even have time to pray or I didn't think about it."

From morning into late afternoon, much of the effort was focused on sorting through broken trees and mangled tin. Utility crews are still working to bring back power in the area. 

In other parts of town, there isn't much left standing. The McNamaras long-time family barn and machine shed was caught right in the eye of the tornado. Doris McNamara was sent to the hospital after her family says her garage roof collapsed on her. Family says she is recovering in the hospital, but is expected to be okay. McNamara's niece Theresa Martin says the tornado tore right through her aunt's family farm. 

"As far as I know she's going to be alright, because to see this you wouldn't think someone could live through it," said Martin. 

The ferocious storm destroyed years of memories, but the family-miraculously-was able to save McNamara's photos of her fondest family memories. Much like the rest of the community, the McNamara's are holding on to what they still have. 

Authorities say there have been no reported deaths.

The first day of clean-up in what will be a long road ahead, came to a close Thursday night. 

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