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Possible tornado damages Twin Bridges

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 01 2013 08:45:29 PM MDT
Updated On: Aug 01 2013 10:20:12 PM MDT
Twin Bridges

Photo courtesy Julie Nielsen McLaughlin

BOZEMAN, Mont. -

We've learned a possible tornado touched down in Twin Bridges during a severe thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon.

Madison County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Steve DiGiovanna tells NBC Montana the National Weather Service is heading down to the town Friday morning to investigate. The National Weather service did report 90 mph wind speeds in the area.

"Trees were uprooted throughout the town and surrounding area. Some trees fell into structures severely damaging several historic buildings on and near Main Street," said DiGiovanna in a statement to NBC Montana.

He says someone took a video of the storm, and he witnessed what appeared to be a tornado funnel touching the ground.

The possible tornado may be responsible for some of the damage that tore through the town, DiGiovanna said. A veterinary clinic outside of town had the roof ripped off. The museum was significantly damaged. An airport hangar was destroyed and a trailer was crushed by falling trees. A grandstand at the Madison County Fairgrounds was flipped over and destroyed, and the fairgrounds sustained additional damage.

The thunderstorm left the entire town and surrounding area without power. DiGiovanna said at least six high-voltage power poles are completely knocked down, and power will not be restored for at least 24 hours -- if not two to three days.

"The town is completely without power and businesses in the area will be closed. Several hundred people may be without power in the area as well," said DiGiovanna.

Viewers who sent NBC Montana photos of the damage report buildings in town seem to have had roofs missing as well. At least 100 trees are down, DiGiovanna said, and several buildings suffered structural damage from them, but he reports luckily no one was injured.

"Residents are advised to protect perishables and prepare for more storms that are forecasted for early tomorrow morning," he said.

According to DiGiovanna, the Twin Bridges Fire Department, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Northwestern Energy, numerous local volunteers and Madison County DES are working to restore basic services to the town. He said at least 100 people chipped in to help, and it was great to see the community come together during the disaster.