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Storm damaged 124 homes in Farmington

Thirteen Farmington homes were uninhabitable after last Friday's storm. The historic Akin House had its roof lifted off.

Mother Nature wasn't picky when she decided whose homes would be damaged by last Friday's early morning tornado. She didn't care if the home was old or new, if the homeowners had lived there for one year or several.

She just took a deep breath and blew out a tornado, causing damage to a corridor about 1 1/2 miles long in the central section of the city.

Some houses received minimal damage but had lots of trees down. Other homes lost roofs, the sides of the garages, swing sets, swimming pools or patio furniture.

Dan Buysse and Katie Clausen are neighbors on 192nd Street. Buysse's home sustained only a little roof damage that was covered up with a tarp. Buysse's yard, though, seemed to be the landing point for a number of trees.

Clausen's home, right next door, is currently condemned. While she and her boyfriend, Kevin Lindquist, huddled in their basement with their cats, the garage was pulled from its foundation. A good portion of their roof pulled off, too, allowing heavy rainfall to fill the bedroom next to where they had been asleep just minutes before. A light fixture in the bedroom filled with water. A tree pierced the living room wall on the other side of the house. Pieces of insulation littered the house.

Buysse was asleep in his basement when the storm hit, though his son was upstairs. The house shook when a tree was snapped in half and landed on the roof. Buysse ran upstairs and grabbed his son, taking him to the safety of the basement.

Clausen and Lindquist woke up when the window unit air conditioner in their bedroom started to rattle. They tried to hold on to it for a bit, but once water started coming from the window, they knew it was time to go downstairs to safety.

Across Akin Road, at the home of Tim and Betty Carr, Mother Nature was making her mark on one of Farmington's oldest homes, commonly known as the Akin House.

Built in 1856 by early setter Daniel Akin, the walls of the home are 24 inches thick. Because the exterior is so sturdy, Betty Carr never feared for her family's safety. At least not until Friday morning, when the southeast corner of the home's roof pulled up from the walls, allowing rain to seep into the attic -- right above the couple's bedroom. The next morning, that rain still filled the attic, and some was seeping down the walls throughout the home.

Never expected

Clausen and Lindquist bought their home about a year ago. They painted and wallpapered to make the home their own.

"And everything we did was gone in 30 seconds," Clausen said Friday, as she took a break from raking debris in her yard. "I didn't cry until I talked to my mom, because I was just in survival mode."

In the wake of the tornado, the neighbors around 192nd Street were more than bewildered by what had just happened. Buysse waited in his basement for a while after the worst of the storm had passed, but then went to survey the initial damage when he saw another neighbor's flashlight bouncing around outside.

Having lived in his home for six years, Buysse has weathered a few storms, but nothing as severe as last week's tornado.

"This is the first time I've ever seen anything like this happen around here," he said Friday morning. "We were lucky. We had a little roof damage, but we're all safe."

Looking at her garage wall, shifted off of its foundation, Clausen marveled at the damage to her home.

"It's funny how something you think is so sturdy can move like that," she said. "I just never expected anything like this."

No injuries were reported as a result of the storm.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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