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Powerful storms damage homes

Jun 8, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- A rare quarter-mile-wide tornado cut a swath across mainly open country in southeastern Wyoming, ripping off roofs and shingles, destroying outbuildings and derailing empty train cars.

The twister was part of a powerful storm system that rolled through parts of Colorado and Wyoming on Thursday, packing heavy rains, high winds and hail. The storms followed a round of nasty late spring weather that pummeled the region Wednesday.

The twister in a sparsely populated area near Wheatland left five structures heavily damaged, and 10 to 12 other structures had lesser damage, said Kelly Ruiz of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security. One of the destroyed homes was vacant, said radio station owner Kent Smith, speaking for the Platte County Sheriff's Office.

Kim Eike said Friday she was working at First State Bank in Wheatland when the tornado hit her property about 8 miles south of town. She and her co-workers were watching it when one woman pointed out it was near Eike's house.

She said the tornado went right over her house, which was still standing, though battered.

"We lost a camper, it blew out the windows in our house, blew off the shingles clear down to the plywood, but we didn't lose the roof. We lost our pig barn, and we lost off our big barn, just the door off the barn. How that happened, I don't know why we didn't lose the whole barn. All the trees around our place are down," she said.

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