‘We knew something was wrong’: Residents recount Stoughton tornado
STOUGHTON, Wis. — “I hear glass shatter. Boom. Pow.”
Ben Amera was minding his own business.
“The power went out and I was just kinda hanging out.”
A storm system brought severe weather to much of southern Wisconsin on Saturday, with high winds and rain. Alliant Energy at one point reported over 1,000 outages in Dane County alone.
But the lack of power would prove to be the least of Amera’s worries.
“I was sitting in my living room when a piece of metal came flying through the window.”
That metal was part of Amera’s silo. And it was blown into his home by a tornado.
On Sunday, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado, with wind speeds as high as 95 mph, touched down just south of Amera’s home on Leslie Road.
“We had an old tobacco shed that got knocked down,” Amera said. “Our hay storage hoop building is destroyed.”
Multiple buildings on Amera’s property were either damaged or completely destroyed. Multiple trees were also uprooted.
The tornado tracked northeast for about 5 miles, impacting Amera’s neighbor Richard Johnson.
“You could hear creaking and different noises in the house,” Johnson said. “We knew something was wrong.”
The tornado was only on the ground for about 4 minutes. Johnson’s roof was torn off of his house and the back of his storage shed was ripped off.
“We were just about to go to the basement, then it was over, the damage was done.”
Johnson also lost a 100-year-old windmill to the winds. He had restored it and put it in front of his home 10 years ago.
“Just an old antique, a big yard ornament, but now its days are gone.”
With the storm gone and the sun rising, the cleanup began Sunday.
“We’re a pretty tight-knit community family around here so everybody comes out and gives a hand,” Amera said. “We’ll at least get what we can get done for now to make it work.”
With snow in the forecast Sunday night, it will need to work fast.
Photographer Brandon Cichanofsky contributed to this story.
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