Wiped Right Off the Map

"The sky was yellow and green," recalled Judy Anderson. "You could hear the momentum and roar. It was all over in 20 seconds." And when the tornado was all over, so too was Anderson's home town, Barneveld, Wis. (pop. 580)—literally wiped off the earth in a matter of seconds by a twister that left nine of its residents dead, 77 hospitalized and only three of its buildings standing intact.

The rubble of the once placid farming town 25 miles west of Madison looked like the aftermath of a prolonged military bombardment: the bank was split open, the fire station was smashed, 120...

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