Machinery Chatter
Russ Quinn DTN Staff Reporter

Tuesday 06/10/14

Quinn Farm Update: Hail Storm Causes Much Damage

Tuesday, June 3, 2014, will be a day many people, from northern Nebraska through western Iowa, will be able to recall years from now.

Chunks of siding are missing on the west and north side of the Quinn home near Herman, Neb., after a hailstorm hit. (Photo by Tracie Quinn)

I know I will.

This was the day we were hit head-on by a severe thunderstorm, which packed strong winds, 4 inches of rain and -- worst of all -- large, damaging hail. No, it was not a tornado, but I did find golf-ball-sized hail after the storm and others in our area reported finding baseball-sized ice chunks.

Our farm suffered some property damage including to our house, crops, trees and even fences.

It hailed for only a few minutes, but the combination of size and wind speed caused extreme damage. When the storm passed, the west and north sides of our house had many holes in the vinyl siding, the corn and soybean plants in the fields on the farm was gone, and many trees and their branches were not standing anymore.

I experienced the storm in my car about a mile east of home. I had left the office early to try to get home to be with my family before the storm hit but came up about a mile short. There were some big hailstones hitting my car, but it didn't knock any windows out and the new hail dents blended in well with the marks from the last hailstorm I tried to outrun home.

After the hail let up, I thought maybe we dodged the bullet as reports from northern/northeast Nebraska said this storm had large, damaging hail. I drove down the hill and down our quarter-mile lane and quickly learned we had not dodged it.

The corn plants in the field by the lane were completely gone, as if someone had gone out there and picked all of them by hand. There were some corn plants actually left near the trees of the farm place, but they were smashed into the wet soil.

I pulled onto the farm place and first noticed all the trees and branches down. Then I drove by the buildings and saw the whole west side of our house had many holes in the siding. We had no power. I can't repeat what I said at that time in this space.

I have lived in eastern Nebraska my whole life and I have never seen such a storm and damage from hail. It even mowed down pasture grass, which before the storm was pretty tall.

Luckily, my wife and kids threw our 12 laying hens into the chicken house before the storm or I am sure there would have been some chicken fatalities. My son's two 4-H lambs also managed to survive the storm, but they were a little rattled.

We had cows running everywhere on the place at this point. Obviously, fences didn't matter much during the hailstorm as the cows attempted to escape from the falling ice stones. But in an open pasture, that escape was futile. Tracie and the kids helped me get most of the cows back in the lot that evening.

For the next two days, my dad and I cut down many fallen tree branches and fixed both barbed wire and electric fence. Sometimes we had to cut branches off of the fence before we could even fix the fence.

By Thursday morning, the power was back on and things were starting to return to normal. We still have branches and trees down around the farm, but they are going to be there for a while.

The insurance adjuster is scheduled to come out and look at the damage to our house this week. My dad is beginning to replant the corn and soybeans fields whose plants probably ended up in western Iowa after the storm.

And the damage could have been much worse. As I said, there was no tornado and my family was OK, which was really the most important thing. All of our livestock is accounted for, and really there was not much damage to the farm buildings other than our house.

With maybe the exception of my daughter Ella, who will only be three in a month, I think everyone in my house will remember the date June 3, 2014.

Russ Quinn can be reached at russ.quinn@dtn.com

(JP/AG)

Posted at 4:46PM CDT 06/10/14 by Russ Quinn
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