It’s been ten years since a massive storm ripped through Manitowoc County community of St. Nazianz, and residents are spending today reflecting on the damage done.
Fire Chief Fritz Keoppen says weather warnings came in about 11:20 that morning from neighboring counties about baseball-sized hail. Then, shortly before noon, the sky was as black as midnight. He says the storm came on fast and left just as quickly, but within just a few minutes it had ripped the town apart.
Keoppen remembers leaving the fire house to see trees stripped by the hail, houses knocked off their foundations, and natural gas leaks all over the Village.
He says the community was quick to respond afterwards, with over 3,000 people coming out to help rebuild the weekend after the storm. Still, he says it was several years time before things were back to normal and the damage was all repaired.
The storm was never classified as a tornado, although officials now believe there may have been several in the area that day.
The Village is holding a commemoration ceremony this evening to reflect on the 2000 storm and bells at St. Gregory Catholic Church rang at 11:48 this morning, marking the time the storm hit.
AUDIO: Fritz Keoppen (:20)
WOMT’s Damon Ryan contributed this report.