Cleanup Continues Following Rare Vt. Tornado

A twister touched down in part of Middlebury Friday afternoon, causing damage that is still being cleaned up

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Cleanup continued Monday after a rare tornado touched down Friday in part of Vermont's Addison County.

Monday, a road crew from the town of Middlebury closed Painter Road as it worked to cut up and take away several large fallen pine trees. There was no erasing the memory of the unusual weather event that brought them down.

"I've never seen a tornado come through Middlebury before," town employee Israel Dwire said in between loading limbs into a truck.

Friday, a tornado tore through a sparsely-populated part of Middlebury. According to weather records, it was only the second-ever March twister in Vermont history.

A team from the National Weather Service that analyzed wind damage classified the tornado an EF-1, with maximum sustained winds of up to 110 miles an hour. By tornado standards, that is actually considered "weak."

"I would hate to see what a strong one does," observed Amanda Werner, who was literally knocked off her feet by the ferocious wind Friday, suffering minor injuries.

Her family's farm lost the hay loft to its barn, had its honeybee hives all blow away, and saw damage to some of its Christmas tree fields, among other serious impacts, Werner said.

Her neighbor's house was destroyed, and that woman's car was flipped — there was another minor injury reported to a teenager there, according to local police officials.

Despite the destruction, Werner said she is really grateful that for the most part, the storm's mile-long path was over fields and forests.

"It could've been so much worse," Werner said, imagining if the tornado touched down in downtown Middlebury. "So many people could've been hurt."

Werner let a pair of lambs out of their stall Monday for the first time in days.

Their paddock Friday was a mess following the tornado, and was full of dangerous debris like shards of metal. However, an army of volunteers — mostly strangers, some from an hour away — answered a plea on Facebook over the weekend. Those people came to pick up broken glass and mangled metal, and stood up fencing so the animals had a safe place to be.

"We were just really, really touched how many people are still reaching out and helping us," Werner told NECN and NBC10 Boston Monday, adding that area residents have been bringing the family home-cooked meals the past few days.

There is still a lot of work ahead, both at the Werner Tree Farm, at the neighbor's place, and at a house across the street that had trees down and a big window broken.

In a post to Facebook Monday, the Werner Tree Farm asked for volunteers to help clean up a neighboring field on Tuesday, March 30 from 12-4 p.m., encouraging people willing to lend a hand to park in their shop's parking lot.

The farm family said it is confident their burdens will be lighter, thanks to the compassion and support they're already seeing.

"We live in an incredible community here," Werner said.

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