EF0 tornado touches down in the middle of Cadott
There was a chance of severe weather forecast for July 21, and as the sky started to look ominous, those predictions came true for the residents of Cadott. Early that evening, a tornado warning was issued for the area, and a short time later, an EF0 tornado touched down in the middle of the village.
According to the National Weather Service, the tornado had top winds at 85 mph, and while the storm caused some major damage to property and trees, no one was injured.
It’s estimated by residents who experienced the event, that the tornado was in Cadott, for roughly 20 minutes to a half an hour. During that time, damage was mostly concentrated on the block of Pine Street, near St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.
The church lost part of its roof – in fact, the choir loft was ripped off, with a portion of the tin landing up against Connie Rubenzer’s front porch on Seminary Street, a block and a half away, while the other roof portion that was ripped off, landed on the opposite side of Rubenzer’s street.
Rubenzer says she was aware of the warning that was issued and was staying at her daughter’s home near the Catholic church, instead of at her house. Seeing the church’s roof in her front lawn was a site Rubenzer couldn’t fathom, given that the tin must have been flung high in the sky, carried the distance over the blocks and dropped in her yard.
“That I can’t believe,” said Rubenzer. “One (portion) here and one there. Together, to fly over them houses.”
A neighbor of Rubenzer also pointed out how eerie the storm was, as garbage bins on that street that were empty from the recent pick-up, were still standing amongst all the damage.
Rubenzer’s clean-up was relatively easy, as she sustained no damage to her house. St. Rose of Lima, however, is looking at a more extensive clean-up project.
“There’s a whole section gone, completely,” said Father William Felix. “Our organ and the electronics up there all got damaged. The suspicion is we might have to replace the organ.”
Felix says there is no cost estimate to the replacements, as structural analysis is still taking place, but expects the costs to be high.
“It’s going to be pretty big,” he said.
There is an emergency fund for the All Saints Parish, if people wish to designate donations to St. Rose of Lima. Monetary donations can be mailed to the central office at 224 East 3rd Ave., Stanley, WI 54768.
For now, all services and Masses will take place at St. Joseph Church in Boyd, one of the three churches the parish serves.
“We’re just moving everybody six miles east,” said Felix, who says he is grateful there was no loss of life and no injury. “It was just amazing, seeing the devastation that took place in that small, little area there.”
Two blocks away, St. John’s Lutheran Church also felt the effects of the storm, although the roof mostly stayed put at the Seminary Street location. The fellowship hall lost shingles on both sides, had some broken windows and saw surrounding trees toppled, but the next-door parsonage on West McRae Street took the biggest hit.
The parsonage was vacant at the time, as the church is still looking for a new pastor, after their long-time minister passed away some time ago. Church member Donna Albarado says she is thankful no one was living in the parsonage during the storm.
“Everything happens for a reason,” she said. “I just can’t believe the beating it took and it’s still standing.”
With help from students from Stanley-Boyd and community members, the church property got cleaned up, at least on the outside. After serving 139 people at a pop-up pantry the day before, Albarado said the church was primed to host the usual Come Now and Eat community meal, but is unsure now if damage will permit that for a while.
In the end, it’s not the damage Albarado is focusing on, but the support the church has received.
“We have such a wide disbursement of people,” said Albarado. “I feel like I can barely contain myself.”
Sandy Buetow, village clerk, agreed that the help Cadott received from area communities, is astounding.
“We had so many nice people, so many volunteers,” said Buetow. “Seriously, it was just huge.”
Much of the village was left without power after the tornado passed, but working through the night, crews got power back on as quickly as possible. Once that was accomplished, the myriad of trees that fell or snapped off, were tackled by the village crews, homeowners and volunteers from Boyd, Cornell and Stanley, to name a few.
Buetow’s husband was one of the ones who saw the tornado form, as he was at Whispering Pines for golf league and videoed the storm passing over.
“You could actually see the funnel coming down,” said Buetow. “He said when they looked out the window toward Cadott, he said you could see debris flying in the air, like plywood and stuff like that.”
Some described the tor- nado as “hopping” up and down as it went through Cadott, but Buetow says she, for one, had no damage, and wonders how one house can remain unscathed, while one a few feet away is heavily damaged.
“How does that happen?” she asked.
Resident Dusty Burish says it sounded like a train went through, which is when he and his family went inside after watching the tornado come through. Their place sustained no damage, but Burish says the storm happened so fast, that it was amazing what damage happened in such a short amount of time.
“It’s unreal,” said Burish.
The high school baseball field also sustained major damage, as the bleachers were overturned and the dugouts destroyed, along with the batting cage and scoreboard. The roof also was damaged on the high school wrestling room side, when the rubber lifted off the roof and “messed stuff up” underneath.
“So, I know there’s more damage there than we originally thought there was,” said superintendent Jenny Starck. “There’s not a lot left (on the ballfield).”
For now, there are no cost estimates to replace what was damaged, as the school is waiting on the adjuster’s figures. Starck, who lives just outside of town, said she had no damage where she was and that it seemed like the tornado went down the railroad tracks, then veered off and disappeared.
Despite the multitude of damage it left, Starck joined the community in thankfulness that people turned out in droves to help and that no one was hurt during the storm.
“It could have been a whole lot worse,” said Starck. “All those things can be replaced.”