Brandon residents assess tornado damage

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-28 20:33:47-04

Residents in the Village of Brandon said the sky was calm before the tornado touched down at 5:35 p.m. Friday.

People who live along the twister’s path say there was no warning and they only had seconds to take cover.

“They didn’t have any warning hardly at all. No sirens, no nothing,” said Jeff Spears, who traveled from Fond Du Lac to help friends with the cleanup.

According to the National Weather Service, a team who surveyed the area Saturday morning confirmed the tornado was an EF1 and was on the ground from 5:35 p.m. to 5:52 p.m. It started south of the junction of Pheasant Drive and Upland Drive and ended along Reeds Corner Road.

“It looked like it was about 6 feet off the ground. It stripped a 45 foot antenna out of the ground, snapped one tree and twisted it right next to his house and tore the roof off the corner house right here,” Spears said.

Inside that house corner house was Nohemi Herrera, her husband and four children. She says at first she thought the funnel cloud was smoke. Then she could see pieces of a roof blowing off the school across the street.

“It was a tornado. I could see the twister growing. It wasn't very big, but once I could make it out, I could see it was carrying debris like branches,” Herrera said.

Herrera wasted no time. She and her husband grabbed their children and ran for the basement. Once inside, they could hear a tree topple over and their roof being peeled off.

“When I opened the door I couldn't believe all the damage I saw. I still can't believe a tornado hit here. I'm just so thankful to God that my children are safe and that I reacted in time,” she added.

Area sirens didn’t go off, but even if they had, many residents don't think it would have made much difference because the tornado left just as fast as it came in.

The tornado came as a surprise, as there was no expectation for severe weather from Storm Prediction Center in Wisconsin Friday, and no watches or warnings issued by the National Weather Service in the area. 
The tornado caused damage to a few roofs, some shingles and soffits, and knocked down a few trees and branches which brought down a few power lines.

The NWS set up a page dedicated for updated information on the tornado. Click here to visit the site.