Home destroyed by tornado

JOHN SANDAHL'S home, about ten miles east of Wayne, was destroyed by a tornado which hit at 5 p.m. on Monday. Friends and family are seen here, helping to pick through what was left behind.

WAYNE — A house and farmstead about ten miles east of here were devastated by a tornado Monday afternoon.

John Sandahl said he had just returned to his home at about 5 p.m., when he heard an alert over the radio for Pender and Thurston residents to take shelter.

“I wasn’t too concerned then. But then, the electricity went out and the wind really started to come up,” Sandahl said.

He was home alone — his wife was in Sioux City at the time, on lock down at the mall there due to tornado concerns in that area as well.

“I went to the southwest corner of the basement, and I heard just a big roar. It was really noisy. There was a lot of cracking and breaking, and then my ears started to pop. I knew it was a tornado when my ears started popping,” Sandahl said.

The ordeal lasted only 15-20 seconds, he estimated, but it was long enough to completely destroy his home and Sandahl Farms.

“When it was over, I went over to the stairwell and it was blocked off, so I had to crawl out a basement window. And then this is what I saw,” Sandahl said, gesturing to the remains of his home.

When EMTs arrived on scene, Sandahl said he told them he was fine and didn’t need any medical attention.

His brother, Ed Sandahl, was less than a quarter-mile away at Sandahl Farms. Ed Sandahl and two employees rode out the storm in the shop — a large steel building.

“Everybody’s all right. We were hunkered down when (the tornado hit),” Ed Sandahl said.

At least four buildings and the entire grain system of Sandahl Farms sustained damage, Ed Sandahl said.

“One of the tankers is in the creek, and we can’t find another tanker,” he said.

John Sandahl said he would start over.

“Well, we’ll just start cleanup (Tuesday morning), and then, I don’t know. I have insurance. We’ll find out how good it is. Everything here is gone.”

A FEW miles away, another family saw the tornado coming straight at them, just before it hit.

Shannon Dorcey was eating dinner with his family at his home two miles east of Wakefield at about 5 p.m.

“I looked out the window, and (the tornado) was about a 1/2 mile south. We ran to the basement,” Dorcey said.

His daughter, Danika, 16, said she and her parents and three brothers turned to their faith as they listened to the storm hit their home.

“We were in the basement, praying. All six of us. A tree fell down on the house, all the windows on all of the vehicles were busted, the shop is gone, the porch is gone, and there’s a trampoline in a tree,” Danika Dorcey said.

Her mother, Jean Dorcey, said the sound of the tornado coming was surreal.

“Our ears just kind of felt like we were taking off in an airplane. Then we heard a loud crack. It didn’t take very long before it was over,” she said.

Jean Dorcey said the family does have insurance on their home and property.

“It’s amazing we even have a house,” she said.

Danika motioned to the dozens of people working to clear debris and patch the hole in her home’s roof.

“You don’t know how many close friends and family members you have until something like this happens.”