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High winds on June 25 wreaked havoc

By Staff | Jul 8, 2011

High winds, clocked at 100 mph by a local resident with a wind meter, left a path of destruction in the Barton area on Saturday, June 25. Barton is located in the NW corner of Pierce County.

The small rural city of Barton had already been wrestling with water issues as residents’ basements filled with water earlier this spring.

Bruce Gronvold was out haying when the wind started blowing early on Saturday evening. His wife, Lori, and a couple of their children were in the park in Barton decorating for her daughter’s bridal shower to be held the next day. All had a difficult time getting home.

Bruce encountered a white wall on his way home. Pea-sized hail was part of the storm. Lori and the children had a hard time even getting in the car because of the strong winds.

“Trees were uprooted right before my eyes,” said Lori describing her drive home.

When the family got home they headed for the basement. They had water in the basement, which was being pumped out by a sump pump.

“It was pretty scary,” she added.

While the wind was whipping around, the Gronvolds’ 1600lb. bales rolled over and some were blown up from the pressure, according to Lori. Several huge trees were uprooted in their yard and the pole barn was demolished.

Gronvold is amazed that though the winds stripped paint from the west side of houses and some garages were damaged, no houses were moved. She added that metal grain bins were strewn across fields.

The Forness family reunion was being held in Barton that weekend so there were many more people in town than usual. Not a single person was reported injured or killed by the storm.

Corky Fedje and his mom went down in their basement, too. “You know how they say if it sounds like a train you should go to the basement, well this sounded like an eerie freight train. They also saw uprooted trees, utility poles damaged, and some crops were damaged.

“We couldn’t see the shop from the house,” said Fedje. “It was just like a winter snowstorm.”

Barton struggled with getting their crops seeded this spring because of all the flooding in the area, the land was too wet for crops.

The electricity went off about 7:15 p.m. and didn’t get back on in some places until 6:00 a.m. This caused a problem as many residents were using sump pumps in their basements. Fedje had four sump pumps going in his basement and needed to get the generator out to continue pumping. “I didn’t sleep a wink that night, ” he said.

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