WISNER — Right before the tornado hit around 4 p.m. Monday, Teri Biermann was in Wisner at work talking on the phone to her husband, Aaron.
Aaron told her the news no one wants to hear: A tornado was headed to their farm located about seven miles northwest of Wisner.
Teri, who works at Citizens State Bank in Wisner, already knew it. She and other workers could see one tornado heading in the general direction of their farm and another twister close behind it.
“Then Aaron called me and said it was crossing the county line and headed our way. He said, ‘I love you’ and then we lost connection,” she said.
Teri said she wasn’t sure what happened but had a feeling the tornado might have hit their farm. Little did she know that Aaron was huddled in a bathroom in the center of the basement with two of their children — Prudence, 19, and Payton, 11.
The first tornado hit the farm and wiped out everything — the house, a farrowing barn, a nursery, other sheds and all the trees.
“Then Aaron called the bank a little later and said they were OK, but everything was gone,” Teri said.
Aaron Biermann’s prized high school car — a 1976 Monte Carlo — was picked up and thrown nearly one-fourth mile away and slammed on top of a fence.
“He said it (the tornado) lasted about 10 seconds and then it was gone,” she said. “The whole roof and everything was gone.”
Nothing but a few trees stripped bare remained. Walls were gone, with the only evidence of buildings the foundations on which they stood.
More evidence of the tornadoes could be seen southwest of the Biermann farm.
Some cattle were injured and out on country roads. Center pivots were mangled or twisted upside down. Trees were stripped and shredded, with metal and other debris littering the countryside and roads.
Neighbors told each other of houses and farms they heard that got hit. Some farmers lost barns, some lost houses and some both.
No damage estimates were available as emergency crews were still assessing damage, including in rural areas. Heavy rains made traveling on county roads difficult with anything but pickups.
Communication was difficult as neighbors could not reach each other with cell phone towers and power lines down.
Teri said the response from neighbors was amazing. Almost immediately, they came to help round up sows and pigs of all size.
Jenny Roth and her husband, Jason, were among those helping the Biermanns. The Roths live about six miles from the farm and saw the tornado hit.
“We were standing at the end of our lane and we could see the funnel clouds coming down,” she said. “We got the phones out and got videos of it coming down. There was a big one and a trailer right behind.”
Teri Biermann said it was hard to comprehend, but they were just thankful nobody was hurt.
“That’s what is most important,” she said.