EF1 tornado takes family farm, burrito business

The damage is estimated between $3-5 million

By Claire Powell | cpowell@weareiowa.com

Published 08/03 2015 06:24PM

Updated 08/03 2015 06:24PM

The National Weather Service has ranked Sunday evenings tornado as an EF1 with winds reaching up to 100 mph.

The farm barreled down on farms in the small town of Williamson, just northwest of Prescott in Adams County.

The hardest hit was Sharon Walter's farm, where she and her grandchildren hid in a basement during the tornado. Her grandson, Tom Walter, said they watched the funnel come up and down and then it headed right for the farm.

"We walked outside and it was completely destroyed," said Tom. 

The farm house was left untouched but the rest of the farm was destroyed. Around three buildings, barns and three silos were leveled and scattered around the fields. The Walter family also lost most of their farm machinery. 

"The way I saw it, it was about 300-400 foot wide and it was ripping through the fields," said Tom, after they came out of the basement and watched the tornado head south to neighboring houses. "It's crazy what an afternoon can turn into."

Down the road, Tanya Green's mother and 97-year-old grandmother were directly hit by the tornado. They too had their houses spared but all of the barns and out buildings were taken by the storm. 

"I bet it was within minutes, we had lots of people helping us. Thank god for good friends and neighbors," said Green. "But it's hard watching it all happen when it's where you were born and raised." Green says there's damage to the shingles, siding and some interior rooms in the home, but the barns are not salvageable. They also lost a sheep during the storm.

As for the Walter family, they said the damage may be as much as a couple of million dollars but they were having insurance companies out to the farm on Monday. 

"No one was hurt, that;s the main thing, and everything else is replaceable," said Tom. 

The Heart Farmboys burrito business was also damaged in the storm. The popular truck and trailer that is well-known at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market was thrown and wrapped around a tree during the storm. The Walter's said they're not sure when they be back in business. 

The National Weather Service said the EF1 was on the ground for 4.2 miles. 

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