"I was pretty shook up," recalled Miller, owner of Miller Farms. "If you've never been through one, it's bad. This is the first one I've been through. I don't care to go through any more."
He and his son rode out the storm in a barn, taking shelter beneath a pick-up. Minutes felt like hours as they listened to the howling winds ripping off the roof above them.
"The noise was phenomenal," said Miller. "I couldn't see him and I could just barely hear him and we were hollering at each other."
When the winds finally slowed his focus turned to checking on his mother, who was alone in her house a short distance away. Miller tried to open one of the barn's large sliding doors, but debris stacked against the barn wedged the door shut. He says it took him several minutes to jimmy the door open.
Upon emerging from the shelter, he learned his family was safe, but the powerful storm had reduced his once pristine family farm to a wasteland. Decades of work turned to shambles in less than five minutes. Miller estimates the farm sustained more than $2 million worth of damage. The farm's grain system was destroyed, all four barns need replaced and many of the farm's grain bins were heavily damaged. He says around 10 trees toppled over in the storm.
The storm came with a hefty price tag, but that's no match for the invaluable memories that were caught in the crossfire. The barns were built by generations before Miller, a source of pride for the tight-knit family.
"Dad and them built it and now we gotta redo it," said Miller, his voice full of emotion. "But we've got pictures. That's all we got now is the pictures of it."
The damage is overwhelming, but Miller remains confident his family will persevere. Their focus now turns to rebuilding the farm's grain system in time for fall harvest.
"We got a strong family and we'll get through it," said Miller. "It'll be rough but we'll make it."
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