Barron Co. residents remain hopeful for future storm shelters - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Barron Co. residents remain hopeful for future storm shelters

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Barron County (WQOW) -

Eight months after an EF-3 tornado touched down in Barron County, communities are hopeful because a proposed project could help protect lives in the future.

The tornado that hit last May was the longest tornado in Wisconsin history and it destroyed Prairie Lake Estates Mobile Home Park in its path.

Barron County Emergency Services applied for a grant through FEMA in November, and now they are playing the waiting game to see if they will receive the federal grant.

Director Mike Judy told News 18 Emergency Services has applied for a $27,000 grant to build two storm shelters. One shelter would be located at East End Estates and the other would be at Prairie Lake Estates to protect people living in those mobile home neighborhoods.

Kevin Duffield, a resident at Prairie Lake Estates, hopes the shelters will help re-build the mobile home park from what is still a ghost town months later, into his neighborhood again.

"There were people that stayed during the storm and when we came back, we found people all over that were hurt. I think it would help tremendously. It would help get more people back here because right now my grandsons are the only two on the bus. We've got new playgrounds coming in, hopefully a new storm shelter and hopefully it will get people back here," Duffield said.

Judy expects to hear whether the county is getting the grant between April and July. He told News 18, within the past 60 years, Barron County has been hit by 38 tornadoes. 

Those storms are responsible for one fatality, 41 injuries and $37 million in damaged property. 

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