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Severe Storm Destroys 600 cow dairy barn in southeast Wisconsin

Pebble Knoll Dairy , owners Richard and Eric Wetzel…over 600 cows

Extreme devastation in Brandon, Wisconsin in Fond du Lac County — one of three impacted by tornado warnings Tuesday.  Strong to severe storms pushed through southeast Wisconsin on Tuesday, Aug. 28 — even prompting tornado warnings.

The National Weather Service will be sending survey teams to assess the damages to confirm multiple sightings of tornadoes.

Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel declared a state of emergency, the county announced Tuesday night. At least three tornadoes are believed to have touched down there, resulting in damage and power outages but no injuries.

Damage at Second Look Holsteins LLC

Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mick Fink says a tornado touched down and damaged the Pebble Knolls Dairy Farm located in the Township of Waupun.

“I heard the roar,” farm owner Dick Wetzel told Action 2 News.

He believes that roar was a tornado, and as evidence he shows us the leveled barn that held more than 600 cows.

“Got here and I just can’t believe what I saw. It was pretty much wiped out.”

No people were hurt but the condition of all the cows is uncertain.

“It’s hard to say at this time. Some of them are buried under the rubble yet, we can’t get to them. We’re working on it,” Wetzel said.

The surviving cows, hundreds of them, are being transported to other farms with the help of neighboring farmers and friends.

Elsewhere in Fond du Lac County, a trained weather spotter reported a tornado in Oakfield at 4:15 p.m. The spotter said debris was visible from Highway Y looking east of Oakfield.

A short time earlier a tornado touched down near Lomira, our sister station WISN reported, citing Fond du Lac County officials. There were numerous downed trees.

Green Lake County Emergency Management confirmed a tornado four miles north-northeast of Marquette on Highway D west of Highway 173. Minutes earlier, a funnel cloud was confirmed three miles south of Princeton near Highway D and Roeder Road.

Radar indicated other, brief tornadoes were possible. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for Marquette, Green Lake, Fond du Lac, Calumet, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties as the bow of the storm moved east.

A trained weather spotter reported what was at least a funnel cloud northeast of Brandon in Fond du Lac County. The spotter wasn’t able to see the base of the funnel cloud to know whether it touched down. Wind gusts of 70 miles per hour were reported at the same time.

The National Weather Service reported storm debris made Highway 22 impassable four miles south of Montello.

The storm also knocked WFDL radio stations off the air. General manager Nick Rusch tweeted a photo of the toppled radio tower and wrote, “I guess FM 103.3 and AM 1170 are off until further notice.”

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