PERRY, Iowa — The sounds of the storm in Perry were frightening. “Like a freight train,” described Nicholas Harvey. The damage left behind was jaw-dropping. “All the sudden we heard a bang and then glass shattered. It was just these weird piercing noises,” said Harvey’s sister Jennifer Pickering.
High speed winds from Monday morning’s storm sent at least six large two-by-four pieces of lumber, over six feet tall, through Harvey’s Perry townhome. “An inch. That’s how close it came to me,” said Harvey.
Pickering said two pieces broke through windows. “The one that was stuck here is probably about as tall as he is, if not longer.”
The wood also found its way through multiple walls and inside bedrooms. Harvey’s girlfriend was taking cover in one of the rooms under a blanket. The winds were so strong that they couldn’t get the door open to get her out. “I was just panicking trying to get that door open. It took me and my sister’s body weight to get that door open,” said Harvey.
Before the storm, Harvey was reminded of a grade school tornado drill to get his twin 10-year-olds in a room with no windows. Thankfully he did because a piece of wood came crashing through the wall and above where his child’s bed is located. “Sharp nails and everything sticking right out of it, that would have got my nephew if he would have been in there,” said Pickering.
As they assessed the damage, Harvey realized the lumber came from the roof of a nearby business almost a full football field away. “I just can’t believe the distance that they came that far,” Harvey said.
Instead of healing any injuries, Harvey, his family and his sister are thankful all that’s needed are home repairs. “Material possessions that got destroyed, we can deal with that, but at least everybody is still here,” said Harvey.