“It was a normal day,” Keith Buszmann said.
The Buszmann family was just settling down for the night Monday when their daughter Jessica came home from work and said she’d heard warning sirens in Belle Plaine. Buszmann looked outside and heard the sirens moments before they stopped. He said everything looked normal.
“At that time it was calm. We asked ‘Why were the sirens going off?’” Buszmann said.
Moments later the farmstead at 8351 Union Hill Boulevard was bombarded with heavy rain and wind. Buszmann was in the living room when he heard his wife Dawn shout.
“All of a sudden she started yelling ‘We’ve got to get to the basement! Get to the basement!’ Yelling at the top of her lungs,” he said.
The family ran into the basement and Dawn said she saw debris floating outside the kitchen window. All they could hear was rain pounding on the roof.
“I was curious and went right back up the stairs and it was all over with, just that quick,” Buszmann said. He estimates the tornado passed through their farm in maybe 15 seconds. They were in the basement for less than a minute.
After the storm clouds cleared, the family found its shop, a 25-by-40-foot pole barn, was a complete loss. A vacant 32-by-100-foot hog barn was also steamrolled by the storm, with almost nothing left standing.
“I just said ‘Oh my gosh,’ a couple times. It was so quick,” Buszmann said. “We’d just got in the basement and came back up.”
No livestock were injured, but the roof of the Buszmanns’ cattle shed was almost completely torn off while cattle huddled inside. The powerful winds peeled the tin roofing back and rolled it into a cylinder.
“Everybody was saying how it rolled that tin up — they’d never seen anything like that ... it looks like a giant inchworm laying up there,” Buszmann said.
In the hours since, the Buszmann farm has been swarmed by news reporters and visited by neighbors offering their help.
Sheets of metal were littered across hundreds of yards of farmland, some pieces wrapped around a tree, between the remaining structures and the road. Some debris was tossed across the road onto a neighboring property. The neighbor said his barn was not damaged.
At 6:58 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for southern Scott County after radar-indicated rotation was detected near Belle Plaine. The service on Tuesday confirmed an EF0 tornado, the weakest kind, formed about 3.5 miles southeast of Belle Plaine with maximum wind speeds of 80 mph.
Scott County officials said there were several reports of wind damage in Belle Plaine Township between Hickory Boulevard and Union Hill Boulevard and downed power lines, downed trees, and other debris.
Significant wind damage was also reported in Savage, with quarter-sized hail reported in Lydia in Spring Lake Township. Minor street flooding was reported in the northern sections of Shakopee.
No weather-related injuries were reported, however.
“Despite the damage, we are fortunate that no one was hurt,” Sheriff Luke Hennen said in a press release. “Residents were alerted by the outdoor warning sirens and were able to seek shelter and stay safe.”
A pair of witnesses said they saw the tornado briefly touch down and said it was visible all the way from Merriam. They said the tornado dissipated as it crossed Union Hill Boulevard. A storm chaser also said a tornado touched down in a field and broke up while crossing the road.
Conner Wheelock said he was merging onto northbound Highway 169 in heavy rain amid sirens when he saw a tornado forming southeast of the on-ramp.
“We saw it and it looked like it was coming down quick,” he said.
Emmy Rowan Deoraj lives off Hickory Boulevard, a cross section of Union Hill Boulevard, and had been watching the storm from her windows when her phone alerted her to a tornado warning, and then sirens. She went downstairs, looked out her patio door, and saw clouds hovering over her house and past the tree line she could see clouds “just lifting” about three miles away.
“There was one section that looked to be pointed and at the time I thought it could still possibly be forming. Come to find out that it was the formation breaking up that I witnessed.”
The Buszmanns are keeping the debris in place until insurance adjusters survey the property. After all the paperwork is done, the Buszmanns plan on rebuilding.
“I’m glad we’ve got insurance, that’s for sure,” Buszmann told his neighbor, Steve Meger. “That’s why you pay the premiums.”
Above all else, Buszmann said he’s thankful his family is safe, considering how things could’ve been worse.
“We’ve got insurance and we’ve got our lives,” he said. “Nobody got hurt and none of the cattle got hurt.”