Friend remembers neighbor killed in Chetek tornado, NWS surveys - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Friend remembers neighbor killed in Chetek tornado, NWS surveys damage


Barron County (WQOW) - Friends of the man killed Tuesday night are remembering him as a great man.

Eric Gavin, was the lone fatality in Tuesday's twister. His daughter, Jewel, says the news of his passing was heartbreaking.

"I was here until 11 waiting and then finally a sheriff came and talked to me and told me and that was hard. That was one of the hardest things in my life.  I was my daddy's girl, definitely. I'm an only child," said Jewel Gavin.

Ronald Blomberg lived next door to Gavin. They worked together at Jennie-O Turkey, but he never guessed how he would see his friend for the last time.

RELATED LINK: Jennie-O turkey farm damaged in Tuesday's tornado

"I actually seen him getting pulled out of the trees," Blomberg said.

Blomberg said he heard sirens in the distance, so he was able to get out of the trailer park. He never imagined what he would return to.

"You don't think something like this is going to happen until it happens," Blomberg said. "I kind of blew it off because I have been in severe weather before and I didn't think it was going to be this bad."
Experts from the National Weather Service were at the scene Wednesday, assessing the damage and the tornado that caused it:

"We look for other types of damage, like tree damage and witness accounts, things like that," said Bill Borghoff, the lead forecaster with NWS. "We come out here, and we try to determine how strong the tornado was based on all those factors."

Borghoff said while deadly tornadoes don't happen often in the area, you can never rule them out.

"We did have the EF3 Ladysmith tornado about 15 years ago, so it is certainly not unprecedented," Borghoff said. "Tornadoes obviously occur more often in the plains than they do in this area, but tornadoes can occur really anywhere in the country especially this time of year."

RELATED LINK: SLIDESHOW: Barron and Rusk County Tornado

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