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Wahpeton residents roll up sleeves to cleanup after overnight storm

People in the south side of town were hard at work cleaning up their yards after a storm uprooted trees and damaged homes.

Tree crushing Cadilac
A tree in Wahpeton was uprooted by the storm and landed on a nearby car.
Steve Elwell / WDAY News
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WAHPETON, N.D. — An intense storm hit Wahpeton on Thursday, May 12, knocking down trees and stripping shingles off roofs with 60 mph winds.

Richland County Emergency Management Director Brett Lambrecht said it doesn't look like the storm made much of an impact on the city's river levels and he's focused on cleaning the city up.

"People are working hard at it right now," Lambrecht said. "They got contractors here, or they're doing it themselves and you're cleaning, cleaning stuff up. And I guess so it's going to be. I'm sure a couple of weeks before we get back to totally normal."

With so much debris in yards, it's a big mess to clean up. Wahpeton resident Peter Szrudato was inside when the storm hit.

"I heard noises all outside, " Szrudato said. "And like I said, my whole house shook. So you know, I knew something was going on."


Szrudato is from Florida, and he's used to Florida's hurricanes, but he says he's never seen anything like this in North Dakota.

"All I can say is wow," he said. "I'm amazed. You know, how quick it happened."

Siding dangling from a tree after a storm in Wahpeton.
Steve Elwell / WDAY News

Sylvia Barrera and her family were dealing with a terrible mess Friday with their own home.

"We just hear like the big thunder, and all the trees fell," Barrera said. "And oh my gosh, we didn't know what was going on."

A tree in her backyard fell on the garage in back, causing the whole building to shift. Another tree landed on her husband's car, crushing their Cadillac.

"So we came in, we looked out the front door, and all the trees were down, " she said. "And then I went upstairs, and I saw the back and I said, 'Oh my gosh, that really hit us.'"

Friday she and her family were scrambling to clean what they can, and some of her neighbors are lending a helping hand with the trees.

"We got our neighbors, happy neighbors, healthy neighbors, and they help us a lot, you know," she said.


Barrera says they've got a lot of hard work ahead of them, and they're not alone. Others in her neighborhood also have their hands full dealing with the mess in their own yards. But she still does her best to find a silver lining.

"Nobody lost our lives," Barrera said. "Everybody's fine."

She also has a friendly warning for other people dealing with weather like this.

"When they say take cover, take cover," she said.

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