Trees crash through homes, but everyone’s OK

    As Monday night gave way to Tuesday, it didn’t take long for a general theme to take hold throughout Crookston: Monday night’s storm hit the Woods Addition the hardest.   

    Driving through the neighborhood Tuesday afternoon and taking in the steady stream of curious gawkers, the multitude of Otter Tail Power crews, the constant buzz of chain saws, not to mention the overall scope of the damage, it was apparent that the Woods Addition had, in fact, faced the worst wrath of Monday night’s winds.   

    While many fallen trees somehow managed to avoid hitting anything but the ground, a few homes were damaged, some significantly, by downed trees.   

    On South Ash Street late Tuesday afternoon, Erin Dooher, her daughter, Lizzy Rowan, and Lizzy’s daughters, Autumn and Ellie, frolicked in the front yard, with their play space abbreviated drastically by two large trees that fell and landed on Erin’s house Monday night, while she was inside with her daughter and granddaughters.   

    “What can I say? It was incredible,” Erin recalled. “Just incredible. Really something to experience.”   

    Erin said a relative called from Grand Forks Monday evening to warn her that a tornado was coming toward Crookston. So, without alarming the young girls, they started to calmly make their way toward the basement, Erin recalled. “We weren’t even at the bottom of the stairs when it sounded like the whole house had just caved in,” she said. “It was pretty scary at that point.”   

    Their neighbor, Bob Anderson, “rescued us,” Erin recalled. “He calmed us down and we stayed at his house.”   

    As the sun rose on Tuesday, they saw the scope of the damage. Erin said there are tree limbs in the living room.   

    “I still don’t know if I believe it,” she said.   

    A couple blocks away, on Cromb Street, sisters Linda and Anita Noud, who also live across the street from each other, were waiting to follow-up with Linda’s insurance provider as they surveyed the damage inflicted on Linda’s home by a large tree that appeared to have been lifted out of the ground in her front yard and deposited on her house.   

    “It didn’t just tip over, it was lifted up and thrown on the house,” Linda said, making a case for a tornado and not just straight-line winds doing the damage.   

    Linda said she was in her house with her stepson, Alexander, 9, when the brunt of the storm hit. “He just hates storms; he even hates the word tornado,” she said of Alexander. “So I was trying to encourage him as casually as possible that we should get to the basement.”   

    Then, BOOM!   

    “I thought it was an explosion,” Linda recalled. “That’s the only way I can describe it. And then the rain was just pouring inside.”   

    The tree punctured her ceiling in the living room, bathroom and a bedroom, leaving insulation everywhere. As the hours passed on Tuesday, Linda said the  immense weight of the tree was putting more and more pressure on the roof and ceiling. “It’s been pushing down and getting lower and lower all day,” she said, gesturing to the limbs protruding several feet from above into the bedroom.   

    “It’s just things and we’re all OK,” Linda added. “But for a little while there, I didn’t know if we were going to be OK.”