Wind storms sweep through Midwest as Biden surveys tornado damage
▶ Watch Video: Tornadoes reported and thousands without power as unprecedented storms hit the Midwest
The small town of Hartland, Minnesota took a direct hit after powerful winds swept through Wednesday. The storm left downed light poles and reduced a bank building made of bricks to rubble.
Storm chasers captured a video of an apparent tornado in Iowa. Hundreds of thousands of people have reported they lost power across the Midwest. The strongest wind gusts reached more than 100 miles per hour.
Any time of the year, to have so many damaging wind storms at one time is unusual, but according to the National Weather Service, the fact that this happened in December could be called “abnormal.”
Iowa and Nebraska reported more than a dozen tornadoes, and Minnesota had tornado warnings in December for the first time ever.
The wind caused the wall of a fire-damaged grocery store to collapse and destroyed several Iowa farmhouses.
“We were in the basement. The power went out so we had to run downstairs. It was really fast,” Sidney Walker told CBS News.
In Nebraska, a state trooper’s dashcam caught the moment when another truck overturned.
The winds sheared the roof off an airport building in Missouri and led to white-out conditions on a road in Kansas.
In Dodge City, wind gusts hit 84 miles per hour, uprooting trees, overturning heavy playground equipment and leaving an apartment complex in tatters.
President Biden is promising tornado victims in Kentucky that the federal government will help them rebuild.
On Wednesday, the president saw firsthand some of the damaged areas in the state where tornadoes killed at least 74 people last week.
FEMA teams are on the ground in Dawson Springs, registering people for federal aid, after three out of every four homes here were destroyed.
Andy Hernandez, 87, and his 78-year-old wife Betty are starting over after their home was destroyed. Some donations from their church and the few things they call their own are packed up in a truck.
“We love that little house. But anyway, it’s totaled,” Betty said.
The couple couldn’t afford renters’ insurance and now they can’t afford to stay in Dawson Springs. “We live on a limited income. And we had to cut back cause we were paying $1,200 a month with Medicare and supplements. And it went up so high,” Betty said.
Across the state, dozens of families are grieving the deaths of their loved ones, like the family of 50-year-old Matt Ferguson who tried to ride the storm out at in his trailer.
“He has never left his house no matter how bad the storm got. Be alright, that’s how he was, it’ll be alright. I miss him already. I wish I had called him and tell him to get over here. But knowing him, he never would have come,” said Kathy Ferguson.