Tornado Passes Over House in Orr
Tornado Warnings in Wirt, Effie and Orr Minnesota, A Look At The Path & Damage
ORR, Minn. — The summer heat, humidity and approaching storm front fueled perfect conditions for tornadoes on Wednesday. It’s a rare but possible scenario in the Northland and at 5:34 that evening, a funnel cloud was spotted by law enforcement in Northome, Minnesota.
And uncommon disaster in the Northwoods, the tornado touched down to the ground in the town of Wirt, Minnesota, near county road 13 and 31. Sirens began to blare in its path.
“They went off in Bigfork but Effie doesn’t have sirens, so they had cops and firefighters come through and evacuate people.” said Gavin Kallinen an Effie resident. “They went from store to store warning people that there is a confirmed tornado on the ground and it was headed towards them.”
“We saw the clouds coming over the store and circling around. But we didn’t actually get to see anything form.” mentioned Kallinen.
Just 3 miles down the road, the tornado dropped again, this time hitting the rodeo grounds and campsite just off of county road 5. It detached and overturned an outhouse that was made of wood and was anchored to the ground. It also completely obliterated the other sturdy outhouse according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
As the tornadoes continued on, it snapped trees in its path and then lifted again, but not for long.
At 8:07 p.m. a waterspout was seen on Pelican Bay in Orr, Minnesota.
“It was dark out there, there was one moment when it did start looking a little green.” explained Mitch Kenneback the Assistant Manager at Pelican Bay Foods.
Pelican Bay Foods is the closest standing building to the waterspout and Kenneback began taking people in for shelter.
“Started having people come in and they were asking about the weather and what was going on. Then the tornado siren went off and people were wondering where they should go for that.”
With heavy rain pounding on the roof, it began to flood Highway 53 within minutes. “The parking lot was just water moving for a little while. Steady streams of water.” described Kenneback .
Nerves were at their peak for locals and tourists in the area.
“They were looking for a place to shelter. You could hear a little in their voice they weren’t sure where things were. They said a lot of cars were parked on the shoulder.” said Kenneback.
No damage was done there and no one was hurt, as the tornado lifted again, but this time it was headed towards homes.
“The warning had expired by then and we were just watching a waiting, thinking it was no big deal. Then we saw a big band, like an inflow band going straight south and I thought that was kind of weird, never saw anything like that before.” explained Ericka Iverson an Orr resident.
It was the funnel cloud that passed directly over their house!
“My husband was saying well that’s all rotating! So it’s definitely rotating! And then I started hearing noise, like they talk about the train noise. It was almost just like a low roar. I thought well I’m going to get the kids out of the window and into the house.” said Iverson.
With no basement at their ranch, the entire family took shelter in an interior room with no windows, inside of the closet. Putting as many walls between them and the outside to be protected from debris. There were also doors on both sides to escape and there were clothes to hide under from the debris. It was the safest place to be.
“The funnel was not fully condensed; it was see through going to the ground. And it kind of just lifted and dropped and lifted and dropped.” said Iverson.
Her 6-year-old daughter Bonnie Iverson commented, “I had this shivery thing in my legs, ohh yeah, she was so anxious. I couldn’t get it out of my legs and it was just pulling my body. Now my tummy feels anxious and sick and I just…”
As the storm passed and went off into their backyard, they headed back to the windows to see what had just happened.
“Another sort of lowered area and it was all rotating and there was some stuff pulling up into it. That had developed a funnel, and that was all rotating and really dark and thick.” said Iverson.
As for damage, it flung small debris in their yard.
“It’s one of those things where we would like to see it across a field or far away, we didn’t expect it to come barreling right over the house!” said Iverson.
The National Weather Service surveyed the damage and will likely rate it as an EF0, with 60-70mph winds.
Severe weather didn’t stop that night, the next day on Thursday, a tornado touched down in Gordon, Wisconsin. The NWS is surveying that damage Friday.
Friday, more severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings were issued in Pine, Burnett and Sawyer counties, packing 80-90mph winds and baseball size hail.
20-30 cars on I-35 were pulled over on the side of the road with smashed in windows from the damaging hail.
In Radisson, Wisconsin 60-80 foot trees were knocked over from the high winds that reached up to 70mph.