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Sirens provide wake-up call Wednesday morning

By Staff | Jul 22, 2011

Rugby residents woke up to sirens warning them to take cover immediately on Wednesday, July 20 at approximately 6:45 a.m. No lives were lost and no injuries reported in the storm that took down a shop, stripped off roofs of outbuildings, uprooted large trees, and damaged some crops in parts of Pierce County.

The rural area south and west and east of Rugby was hit hard. One of the hardest hit was Al and Janelle Jacobson’s farm on 59th St. NE where the storm hit about 6:30 a.m. The Jacobsons have two 25,000 bushel grain bins that were fairly new. One filled with grain stayed where it was and one took to flight, according to Janelle Jacobson. There didn’t appear to be any rhyme nor reason to the storm. Two dented grain bins were on cement and the bottom seals were pulled off.

“I just kept running from window to window,” said Janelle. “You couldn’t see the bins or anything.”

She added that there were “large pieces of hail, quarter size and larger.”

Janelle said she flipped on the television and heard that there was a tornado between Balta and Rugby. She told Al, but they didn’t go in the basement, it happened so fast. After the storm passed through, they sat in their sunroom and listened to what sounded like a freight train to the east and north of them for about 25 minutes. They hooked up a generator so they could have their morning coffee. Electricty was restored within a couple of hours.

The hail and wind did some damage in places to the beans.

“We’ve been out all day cleaning up and haven’t taken a good look at the crops yet,” she said.

Chad and Stacy Duchsher who live seven miles south and 1 and 1/2 miles west said they didn’t see any hail. They lost four hopper bins, a gutter was ripped from their shop, some crops were damaged and trees uprooted. Stacy reported that the highway was blocked off for awhile when a tractor-trailer truck got blown off the road about six miles south of Rugby on Hwy 3. A combination of poor visibility from heavy rains and a strong wind pushed the truck into the northbound lane then into the east ditch. The semi rolled over onto the driver’s side.

“It was scary,” Duchsher said. “We went in the basement.”

Jason and Karissa Brossart live on 58th Street NE said they were sitting in the house about 6:30 a.m. when it got dark and started pouring rain, according to Jason. It hailed for about 30 seconds, visibility was poor and the rain was going sideways.

Something flew by the window and Karissa said, “What’s that, a grain bin?”

That’s when they decided to wake the children and take them to the basement. Later they would learn that what they had see going by the window was the roof of their shop which is demolished. The roof split into three pieces; one piece took out some trees, another landed in a tree, and the third part hit their pickup and took out a tail light and scratched and dented the pickup. Nothing too serious.

During the height of the storm, their phones, cell phones and electricity were all not working.

While KZZJ, the official weather recorder showed .65 rain and no hail in Rugby, at the Jacobson farm, they measured 1.10″ of rain and they reported large hail.

Residents in Knox to the east of Rugby reported many trees uprooted and electricity out. Damage was reported at Pleasant Lake, east of Rugby. The city of Rugby had mostly branches down and city crews were out cleaning up right away.

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