Warm weather brings an eerily similar feel to 2008 tornado outbreak

Wheatland residents slightly on edge with this warm weather

CREATED Jan 29, 2013

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  • Damaged homes from Monday evening's F3 tornado are shown in this aerial photo in the Town of Wheatland. Image by Jeffrey Phelps

WHEATLAND - It was 5 years ago this month that an EF-3 tornado ripped through the town of Wheatland. Today's weather is eerily reminiscent of that day Donald Ketterhagen tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka, "One in a million you know, you never think. I always worried about something happening, but never a tornado and in January besides."

But on January 7th, 2008, that is exactly what happened. A 200 yard wide tornado took the roof right off of Ketterhagen’s house, “I didn’t really believe it either.” As unbelievable as a tornado in January is, Donald found the damage to be almost as odd. His kitchen doors flew away with his roof but the dishes and glasses remained right where he left them.

Rebuilt homes, including Ketterhagen’s, now replace the 27 that were destroyed from the unusual January tornado outbreak. "You don't realize the warning that you need to be prepared," but living in Wisconsin, residents like Ketterhagen weren’t exactly expecting to prepare for a tornado in the middle of winter. But the reality of that day is still sitting in Donald’s front yard, a piece of his old house is stuck in his tree from the storm. "The wife keeps saying we need to get that out of the tree but I says that it's a good, friendly reminder," Ketterhagen remarks.

And today’s weather is reminding people in Wheatland of that rare event. "I hope it don't hit twice in the same spot, that's for sure," Ketterhagen exclaims. But just in case, Donald and his neighbors are keeping a closer eye on the skies, “It makes you think twice, makes you look out a little more often, listen to the news a little more, and hope to not hear a siren."