VERONA, Wis. - The National Weather Service said a tornado caused the storm damage found in Verona overnight.
Preliminary investigations indicate an EF3 tornado touched down in northwest Verona with wind speeds estimated at 140 mph.
Verona city officials said the storm caused significant damage to Country View Elementary School in Verona, and damaged several homes in the area of Cross Country Road and Tamarack Way. Nineteen homes have been declared uninhabitable.
Verona Superintendent Dean Gorrell was able to get inside the school to survey the damage earlier Tuesday.
He said several walls collapsed and there is a lot of water damage.
Gorrell said it is too soon to know the exact amount of damage, but at first glance he thinks repairs will be able to be made by the start of the next school year.
Verona Police Lt. Dave Dresser said they received information of roofs being blown off homes, along with some collapses in some residential homes.
Shannon Meyer and her husband have been surveying the damage to their home on Tamarack Way.
They were woken up by a boom early Tuesday morning and ran to wake their daughters, and somehow got to the basement safely as insulation and rain fell on their heads.
"Now looking at it I'm shocked that we all made it out fine, because we went back in later and there's just nothing in our bedroom above you. It's just open to the sky," Meyer said.
Meyer said her family has lived there 9 years and will now start the process of rebuilding, but she said she is amazed not only her family, but no one was hurt given the damage on their street.
Dane County Emergency Management said the county's 911 center received a report of a person possibly trapped on Tamarack Way in Verona. However, there are no reports of injuries. Emergency responders went door-to-door through the night to check on individuals.
As of Tuesday afternoon, residents were being allowed to reenter the area to assess damage and being clean-up work, according to a release.
"At this time we do not need volunteers on scene. Many volunteers have called the Verona Police Department and have offered assistance with clean up. Homeowners needing assistance with clean up should call 608-845-7623 to request help," Verona Chief of Police Bernie Coughlin said in a release. "We will then contact volunteers for their availability."
Jeremy Scott is the pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, and when the tornado sirens went off Monday night he opened up the church, and called as many members of the congregation as he could.
They opened the church as an emergency shelter and served a hot breakfast Tuesday morning to more than a dozen families who spent the night.
Scott moved to Verona a year and a half ago, but he said seeing the way residents responded makes him realize it was the right decision to move here.
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