Cleaning up after Washington Co. tornado

A pile of lumber is all thats left of Gary Knottnerus's cattle barn after a Wednesday tornado. Photo: Joe Huisinga (CBS2/FOX28)

The National Weather Service identified two tornadoes in southeast Iowa during Wednesday storms.

One in Washington County was rated an E-F-1 with winds of at least 86-miles per hour.

It crossed Highway 218, but not before striking some farms between Riverside and Ainsworth.

The first farm hit belongs to Gary Knottnerus and his wife Janis; they were hit just about 5:30 Wednesday evening.

He says he saw some menacing low hanging clouds that gave him a bad feeling, that’s when he went inside and told Janice that they needed to take shelter in the basment.

When the wind calmed down just a few minutes later they discovered three buildings had been destroyed and their front porch had been ripped off the house.

Pieces of the buildings were stuck in trees and scattered across the field.

Knottnerus says it was hard to even get across the yard because it was so scattered with debris.

One of the buildings hit was a cattle barn but luckily no animals were hurt.

It didn't take long before more than 70 volunteers had showed up with equipment and helping hands and got to clean up the mess.

“Before you knew it cars were lined up everywhere and pick-ups, guys were going home getting their skid loader's and tractors and went to work, they worked until well after dark last night And they all came back this morning,” says Knottnerus.

After a day of clearing debris the farm was unrecognizable from the previous night.

Just a few miles away another farm sustained similar damage before the storm crossed Highway 218.

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