Western WI man survives tornado

Crews surveys tornado damage in Pierce County, Wisconsin

MARTELL, Wisc. -- A western Wisconsin man is recovering after an EF1 tornado hit the barn he took shelter in.

Zachary Knutson was at Knutson Family Farms when the storm started to pick up. He took shelter in the barn and hunkered down in a corner near some square bales that weighed about 1,000 lbs. each. At one point, Knutson said it appeared that at least one or more of those bales started to move. That's when he decided to move to a different part of the barn. Shortly after, Knutson was hit by debris on the back of his head.

"The interim from when I got knocked out to how I ended up out in the yard, I couldn't tell ya," Knutson said.

When Knutson woke up, the half top of the barn was off. 

Knutson is using a crutch and has a sprained ankle. He also has injuries to his elbow, finger and head.

"I would describe it as being swatted in the back of the head with a baseball bat. But I'm alive so that's good," he said. "To be able to say you walked away from a tornado and it destroyed the building you were in and you're okay, that's pretty fantastic."

A National Weather Service crew surveyed the area on Thursday. The tornado damaged several dozen homes and outbuildings.

Weather service meteorologist Michelle Margraf said the EF1 tornado struck about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday east of River Falls in Pierce County. The twister also churned up large trees at their roots and flipped vehicles on their side near Martell, an area that sustained most of the damage.

Margraf said Thursday another tornado touchdown was reported by law enforcement to the north near Siren in Burnett County about 5 p.m. The tornado damaged a barn and trees.
 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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