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UPDATE: NWS says Colfax tornado was EF1, cleanup begins

By: Matt Hoffman, Jenny You Email
By: Matt Hoffman, Jenny You Email
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Attached are photos sent to us from viewers in the Colfax area

COLFAX, Wis. (WEAU)-- UPDATE: The National Weather Service has amended it's original results on the tornado that went through Colfax.

It now says the tornado was a weak EF1 category with wind speeds of 85 to 90 miles per hour.

It was around 100 yards wide at its widest. It says the tornado lasted about five minutes, traveling about 2.5 mph.

The twister went through Colfax around 3:15 Friday afternoon.

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The National Weather Service says a tornado touchdown in Colfax Friday afternoon was a strong EF0.

The NWS was out surveying the damage in Colfax Saturday. It says the maximum speed of wind was between 80 to 85 miles per hour. It was around 100 yards wide at its widest.

It says the tornado lasted about five minutes, traveling about 2.5 mph.

The twister went through Colfax around 3:15 Friday afternoon.

Neighbors got together on Saturday to clean up what's left behind.

"We got lucky, it missed the propane, it missed the houses. It could have been worse but otherwise, it's a lot of cleanup. She made a mess in a hurry. It was about a minute ordeal but that was all it took," said Tracy Wilkinson whose home was damaged in the storm. "Neighbors lost their roof, other neighbors lost their power, and trees all over town down. She hit fast and hard."

Wilkinson said if he didn't have access to his neighbor's equipment, he estimates it would cost him close to $3000 to deal with the damage a fallen tree left behind.

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The National Weather Service says a tornado touchdown was reported in Colfax Friday afternoon.

The tornado was spotted around 3:15 p.m. Multiple trees are down in the area, and there is damage to a gas station along with the local elementary and middle school.

Law enforcement says no injuries were reported, but folks are in the process of cleaning up all the debris.

Rick Meskers was at work when the tornado hit. "I was sitting in my office and looking out the window, and I saw some straight line winds coming through. Me and Eugene and Matt were like, wow, look at those winds and then Matt yelled...it's a tornado! And then I saw it, and we all took of running for the back."

Meanwhile Erin Larson and her son Trey were at home when the storm arrived in town

"The storm was bad," explained Trey who is pretty scared of tornadoes and storms.

"We went to the window to try to show him it's just a normal storm and there's nothing to worry about but we saw one of our trees spinning around and our patio furniture being lifted around so we were like better get into the basement," said Larson

Fortunately, nobody was hurt from the brief twister. "It was over, just like that. As fast as it started," said Larson

But there's plenty of damage that litters the town. "For as much wind and seeing the power that the thing had i was surprised there wasn't more damage to be honest with you," says Meskers.

A preliminary survey of the damage photos and video by the National Weather Service shows this was either an EF-0 or an EF-1 tornado. An official rating of the tornado's strength will be released in the coming days.


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