Clean-up efforts have begun following Wednesday nights tornado that hit Belmond.
The National Weather Service confirms an EF-3 tornado touched down in the small town about 90 miles north of Des Moines.
The sign is the only thing still standing at Cattleman’s Restaurant in Belmond.
“Parts of it are untouched as is typical with a tornado, then you walk into other parts and it’s just shambles and it really breaks your heart, just kind of hard breathing when we walked in there,” says Owner Deb Abel.
Owners, Deb and Duwayne Abel spent the day sorting through the debris.
Deb says she was at work with only one employee when she realized a funnel was headed in their direction.
“I got ahold of Anthony and we both jumped in the car and drove away and I think it probably only hit two to three minutes later, so we got out just in time,” says Deb Abel.
The two could see debris flying in the air as they drove away.
The Abel’s say if the tornado had hit just thirty-minutes later the outcome could have been a lot worse.
“It was a blessing that we were spared that, we could have had 12 to 15 employees along with 60 to 70 customers and by the time it hit we wouldn’t have had time to get them to safety,” says Duwayne Abel.
A National Weather Service surveyor assessed the damage and is calling it a strong tornado.
“We had a particularly strong vortex come through a house, through a business, through a restaurant, then to another home, so it did some significant damage back there,” says Jeff Johnson with The National Weather Service.
Delores Sturm lives across the street from the restaurant. Her home was spared for the most part, a 2-by-4 nearly going through her home.
“It`s a wonder it didn`t go through the wall or through the window, but it didn`t. It`s double-pained window so it just broke the outside window,” says Delores Sturm of Belmond.
Cattleman’s Restaurant wasn’t as lucky, but the Abel’s say they have plans to rebuild.
“It`s really hard because there is a lot of people being in a small area you know a lot of your customers and they might come out two or three times a week and they become family and our employees are family. It`s been really emotional today to know that we won`t see them,” says Deb Abel.
The National Weather Service surveyed the area all morning and afternoon, and came down with an EF-3 ranking estimating wind speeds peaked at 155 miles per hour.