‘It just seemed like a big smack’: Tornado leaves path of destruction northwest of Atlantic

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ATLANTIC, Iowa — Late afternoon on Wednesday Cass County was under a tornado warning. Jim Pellett and wife Nancy were on their farm north of Atlantic. The storms did not look too threatening as they watched from the window of their home.

“Nancy convinced me to go down the basement into our safe room down there and we know more and gotten down there and it did it and it just seemed like a big smack,” said Pellett. “I couldn’t believe the way it felt when it sucked the air up and then was heard glass breaking and trees snapping and that was about it was pretty much over in probably two or three minutes.”

One of the closest damaged items at first notice was their Christmas tree. It was scattered on the floor across the living room. Windows were broken on the east and south side as the outside of the house was pelted by the storm. The farm had major damage to outbuildings, a stave concrete silo was blown over. Fifty head of cattle could not be located.

“Already have people coming to help you clean up, a huge amount of cleanup to do with steel and tin scattered for half to three-quarters of a mile,” said Jim. “We have numerous family around here and neighbors, and no one has suffered an injury that we are aware of, yes there’s property damage but that can be repaired and fixed and replaced.”

Pellett has lived on this farm for over 50 years and had only one bad storm prior to this one in 1980. He was thankful for all the people who said they would be coming at daylight to help clean up.

Cass County Emergency Manager Mike Kennon did a brief survey of the damage Wednesday night in the dark. He knew of numerous farm buildings destroyed, and several homes damaged.   

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