Communities In Polk Co. Clean Up After Double-Dose Of Storm Damage

11 May 2022

ST. CROIX FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) — Many spent their day cleaning up after two storms came through St. Croix Falls Monday. Trees, barns and some businesses took big hits.

Polk County was beaten up a bit when the storms ripped through. From the air, you could see a barn was flattened and siding and other materials were strewn across a field. A number of other trees were snapped and tossed asunder.

“We’re a beautiful county, a tourist county, but we’ve suffered some damage in the last 24 hours,” Polk County Sheriff Brent Waak said. “The first storm came through about 10:30 in the morning, and that one was really tough on the structures — a lot of barns, a lot of roofs, some large hail.”

The storm hit the St. Croix Falls area and tracked northeast. The path of destruction could be seen from one family farm to the next.

The wind was so strong that it moved a line of 1,500-pound hay bails, turning this one on its side.

Deb Petzel says one barn was built sometime before the year 1900. First wind then hail took it down, but a local artist now hopes to use what’s left.

“We take barn wood, metal, reclaimed materials from around wherever we get it, and we turn it into art again so it lives on,” artist Randy Lee said.

While helping clean up, Lee will use the reclaimed wood to frame his photography, one way of making sure this historic part of Polk County continues to tell it’s story.

A number of crews remain in town to help restore power to hundreds of homes.

“There were over 700 people without power yesterday, but they were restored,” Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator Lisa McMahon said. “However that evening storm came through and (now) more people are without power.”

Only a handful of people are waiting for power while others continue to show how resilient people are there, helping each other bounce back after a tough blow from Mother Nature.

Elsewhere, strong winds were blamed for knocking down more than two-dozen trees on a historic property in Taylors Falls. In Center City, a few downtown buildings had tarps on their roofs.

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