This weekend’s storms caused heavy damage in southwest Iowa, but there was extreme devastation to an area about 15-miles south of Atlantic in Cass County. The area was hit by an F-2 tornado packing winds up to 120-plus miles an hour. Kent Muller owns a livestock and feeding service just south of Lyman that was destroyed by the twister. Kent says he first realized something was wrong when his wife Jan woke him up around 2:45 Sunday morning.
Muller says his wife heard the noise first which she thought sounded like a freight train and she headed for the basement. Muller, just waking up, says he paused as debris started hitting the house. The window blew out and Muller dropped to his knees and crawled to safety in the bathroom. In 15 or 20 seconds, it was all over. He says after the storm passed, fear set in, as he and his wife — who were in separate areas of the house — searched for each other and surveyed the damage.
"I didn’t even know if all the house was there. We kinda’ panicked, of course, but then it was quiet right away and we could hear each other and we could look outside and we could see by lightning that everything was gone," Muller said. He says even before sunrise they knew they had a major mess on their hands, because the lightning lit up the debris around their home and business. A better picture unfolded as the morning went on.
Muller says :"We knew things were a disaster. Just looking out the house windows that weren’t there anymore, we could see in the lightning that pretty much everything was gone." Several huge storage buildings and the wash-and-service bay for the trucks were demolished or lifted away to parts unknown. His business and personal vehicles were pounded by the winds and debris. Four refrigerated trailers are totaled, three semis, both cars and three pickups are "almost non-driveable."
Fortunately, none of the couples’ livestock were killed. Muller says they had hauled two loads of sows out early Sunday morning and one load of cattle that were close to the damage. Two of the animals suffered severe cuts from the flying debris. He says when the word spread about the devastation, about 150 people, including friends and neighbors, arrived to help with the clean-up.
He says, "There were some people I didn’t even know. They just showed up and a lot of ’em were here all day." Muller says they’ll begin to rebuild once the clean-up is finished. Debris from grain storage bins on the farm was scattered for several miles around. Crews were on hand this morning using a track hoe and skid-steer loaders to load the large scraps of metal into tractor trailers, while another crew worked to pump untold numbers of gallons of water out the couple’s basement.