Storm tears through area

Wednesday’s storm pulled part of the metal roof off a storage shed and
twisted it around a tree at the Ruehling farm. (Photo courtesy of Ron Ruehling)

Rain and wind shot through the New Prague area the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 16. The heavy rains caused problems for some storm sewers in town, while winds, later reported to be tornadoes, ripped apart trees south and north of town.

“You don’t see something like this every day,” said Bill Seaver about the damage. He and his wife Jan live along Ridgedale Avenue, an area south of New Prague where winds damaged trees. One tree on their property was apparently cracked down the middle and the winds damaged it even more. Another tree was ripped up from the roots. A neighbor across the street had a tree that was nearly split in two. “We’ve lived out here since it was a gravel road and two houses,” noted Bill Seaver, adding there were more farm fields then. The area is now one of many houses and paved roads.

“It was fast,” said Jan Seaver about the storm. “It was raining so hard, we couldn’t see across the street. The winds hit, then in 30 seconds it was all done.”

There was also damage near the Lucille Ruehling home on the northwest side of New Prague. The storm caused damage to a chimney on the home and to some farm buildings. Lucille’s son Ron took a number of photos of the damage. The home is located north of Raven Stream Elementary.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service confirmed that Wednesday’s damage was from an EF-0 tornado that struck around 7:05 p.m. The tornado had estimated peak winds of 55-60 miles per hour, and had a maximum width of 10 yards as it followed a path that was about a half-mile long. A summary of the storm by the National Weather Service said it was “A weak circulation” that developed south of New Prague and moved along the far southwest part of town. “There was minor tree damage which matched up with radar,” the summary said.

The tornado was one of 10 that was reported in South Central Minnesota during Wednesday’s storm. The first was reported at about....

To see more on this story pick up the August 24, 2017 print edition of The New Prague Times.