Verona neighborhood remembers tornado five years later

VERONA (WKOW) — It’s been five years since a weak EF-3 tornado hit a Verona neighborhood, damaging 19 homes and Country View Elementary School.

The neighborhood on Tamarack Way has rebuilt since the storm but for many that day is difficult to forget.

Susan Qualia said she remembers taking cover minutes before the tornado hit her home.

“It was hard to comprehend you know what just happened,” she said. “It sounded horrible and I was still hoping for the best but then when I saw the water running down the wall in front of me, I knew.”

She believes it was a direct hit on her home. The storm ripped away the front half and the rest had water and debris damage.

“About 18 of the 36 rafters were off the roof,” she said.

Others on her street had similar damage but just next door, Sara Hoechst considered her family lucky.

“Some of the neighbors were missing parts of the roof or the garage,” she said.

Meanwhile Hoechst said the structure of her home was undamaged though siding and shingles were pelted with debris.

“The thing I remember though is a tiny little stick. I mean it was this long and maybe half the width of my pinkie but it was sticking straight out of the side of the house,” she said.

Ultimately, Hoechst said she had to replace shingles, siding and some of the internal dry wall. Qualia’s repairs were more comprehensive.

“Basically, the whole house is new except the tile in the very, very back bathroom and one bedroom downstairs in the basement,” she said.

For both neighbors though, the June 2014 storm was a wake up call.

“I was always that kid that ran outside to look,” Hoechst said. “But I don’t know there was just something about that night that we decided to go down in the basement.”

Now she said she does so for every major storm warning and Qualia too isn’t taking anymore chances.

“I was standing in the spot that went down just seconds before it did,” she said.

Still, both said they’re standing their ground, determined to stay in the neighborhood where they rebuilt.

“Well, law of averages says it won’t happen again,” Qualia said. “Plus Verona is an amazing town.”

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