"I had to get down on the ground, right there, and cover my head," she said. "It was two seconds of everything shifting, moving around, and it was all over."
When Blomquist stood up again, half her house was in ruins. In the moments after the tornado lifted, she walked around her home in disbelief. Swamp coolers, boards, branches and roofing from three different houses sat in her living room. But she found comfort once she wandered out to the street.
"I started checking on the neighbors, too. We wanted to make sure everyone was OK, that they were safe," she said. That was good for me. When I saw everyone else was safe, it calmed me down quite a bit."
--RELATED: Tornado touches down in
"Most of that, pretty much all of it, is personal property damage," he said. "There were a few city signs bent or damaged and we lost a few trees ... we have no further information at this time."
Although the tornado took a big toll on homes and city staff, Hanson said he's pleased with the way the community came together during the storm and the cleanup.
"The thing that I think was most impressive is how it brought the cities, the county and residents together in a real positive way," he said. "The tornado also gave us an opportunity to see how our emergency plan worked, how well our staff was trained ... things went very well. We worked well with other government agencies in the area."
Tornados are rare in
"I think overall, this thing ran about as smoothly as anything in recent memory," he said. "We had so many neighboring cities that were willing to help."
Law enforcement received only a report of a stolen Xbox console, which Hutchison called "impressive" considering widespread news that so many homes sat unoccupied following the storm. There were no reports of serious injuries or deaths.
One snag many officials noticed with the tornado was the loss of communication platforms so prevalent now -- like mobile phones, internet access and social media.
"A lot of cell towers were damaged," Hutchison said. "That was an issue for us, we're looking at ways to that overcome in the future."
"That really restricted our ability to reach out to the media and to others who (wanted) information from us," he said. "We're going to take a look at that. ... It was a great lesson learned, having a fully operational city hall with a generator is critical."
Hanson said around 2,000 volunteers turned out to help clear downed trees and damaged homes in the days following the storm.
In the hour after the
"A lot of things were just totally soaked. Most of what we grabbed were clothes," she said. "All the furniture was gone. It's just not in good condition."
An insurance adjuster said the home, where the Blomquists have lived for six years, is a total loss. She is currently staying at the
Blomquist has fallen behind in her last semester in school. Still, she has managed to carry on with a positive outlook.
"One step at a time, right?" she said. "I've told myself not to be emotional, at least I'm alive."
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