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Atwater, Minn., cleans up after EF0 tornado

The Garvick family in Atwater works with relatives to clean up the damage caused by a tree felled in Friday's storm. Linda Vanderwerf / Forum News Service1 / 4
This tree fell in the 200 block of Third Street South in Atwater in Friday's storm. Linda Vanderwerf / Forum News Service2 / 4
An EF0 tornado passing over Atwater Friday brought a tree down through the roof of Tanya and Chris Garvick's garage. Linda Vanderwerf / Forum News Service3 / 4
This tree fell at the corner of U.S. Highway 12 and Third Street North in Atwater after an EF0 tornado hit the town Friday evening. Linda Vanderwerf / Forum News Service4 / 4

ATWATER, Minn. — Tanya and Chris Garvick spent their Saturday clearing tree branches from their yard and wondering what they would do about the crushed Impala in the driveway and the gaping hole in their garage roof.

The Garvicks' home at Fourth and Idaho in Atwater was hit hard by a storm that roared through the area early Friday evening, Aug. 3.

The National Weather Service determined Saturday that the damage in Atwater and east along U.S. Highway 12 was an EF0 tornado with maximum winds of 80 mph, according to Caleb Grunzke, a meteorologist in the Chanhassen office.

Strong straight-line winds south of the tornado path also caused damage, Grunzke said.

The storm left mostly tree damage, with little damage to structures, he said.

Chainsaws could be heard throughout the town Saturday, and trailers and truck boxes filled with branches were a common sight. Every street was littered with leaves and twigs.

The Garvicks had relatives helping them clean up. They had sawed trees until dark the night before and started again Saturday.

A tree had fallen over their car and left a 6-foot hole in the roof. Others had dropped big branches. Live electrical wires strung across the ground. Falling branches had pulled the lines down, but the house still had power.

The maple tree that had come down was at least a hundred years old, Chris Garvick said.

Atwater Ford had a huge tree come down onto the lot, but it caused minimal damage, said salesman Dale Tagtow. "We got lucky," he said.

The Tagtows lost major parts of two trees outside their home in the 400 block of Second Street South. "We love our trees," Tami Tagtow said, looking at the damage. Aside from having their electrical lines torn from the house, their home was not damaged.

Many people had come out to help their neighbors. She pointed to their front yard, which had been cleared of branches and leaves. "I don't even know who did it," she said.

The Tagtows had gone into the basement as the storm approached, but they heard the loud cracks as the trees broke.

A huge old weeping willow tree had fallen beside a house in the 400 block of Fourth Street South. "I'm glad to see it gone," said the owner, who didn't want her name used.

The only problem was that it had "totaled" her flower garden, she said. Under the weeping willow branches were 17 kinds of hostas, she said.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340
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