- A whirlwind carried away the roof and auxiliary buildings.
- The family could not expect such weather.
- Heidi’s family was lucky to stay indoors during the storm.
A furious whirlwind swept over Tartu County on Tuesday evening and destroyed a house in Kambja municipality besides causing other damage. “It took ten minutes and that was all …”
Heidi, whose mother, father and grandmother lost her home in Paali village on Tuesday evening, had been living there for over 35 tahun. According to her, the whirlwind was so thorough that the house is at present completely uninhabitable.
“Trees have been broken off at their roots and scattered all over the yard. The roof of the house is gone, the auxiliary buildings are basically leveled: here were a byre and a barn; one shed was carried away… The worst thing is that since there is no roof and it is raining, the entire house is soaked,” Heidi said, adding that one room is completely open to the sky.
Although, according to her, the house is in a good location – on a hill, protected by another hill and a forest – it seemed to her that the storm came from the other side, heading from Tartu towards Võru.
She said that they had had no idea that Tuesday’s weather could be that bad. At first there it was some thunder and rain, but the storm arrived very suddenly. “It all started at half past four. It was instantaneous, it lasted ten minutes and that was all … “
When asked where Heidi’s parents and grandmother would go, she said that her mother and father would live with her for a while, but her 93-year-old grandmother stays with her second son.
“We are all shocked here. In fact, it is good that they survived at all … Pieces of Eternit and boards were stuck so deep in the ground outside that if someone had been hit with them, it would have been horrible. Fortunately, they were all inside in the kitchen.”
Heidi and her family have not yet been in contact with the municipal administration or other institutions since they are trying to manage on their own at first. “Since our parents have five daughters, we are trying to cover the roof with tarpaulin on our own and with the relatives’ help to keep the house from getting soaked up and then we shall see what to do next. We could not even get to the house at first because there were many broken trees here. But we can do it. There is a lot of cleaning up to do.”
A spokesman for the Rescue Board Southern region alert center said that the whirlwind of Tartu County mainly hit Kambja and was moving towards Võru. “It was like a straight line from here to there.”
He said that the Rescue Board has not received many calls in Southern Estonia because of the storm as the locals could manage on their own. But the rescue workers have gone to help. “In Kambja, two houses have lost their roofs. Broken trees are down everywhere, but the road has been cleaned now and cars can already pass.”
The spokesman said that as far as he knows, no people were harmed by the storm. “Except for material damage.”
Toomas Arumägi, a spokesman of the Kambja municipality, who visited the site shortly after the event, said that the residents of the damaged house can stay with their relatives overnight but that the authorities will find them alternative shelter already on Wednesday. The municipality will definitely help them with restoring their home.
The weather service of the Environmental Agency warned that thunderclouds will spread from East Estonia to West Estonia on Tuesday and thunderstorms would be accompanied by strong rain, sometimes hail and wing gusts with speed over 15 m/s. There is also the risk of whirlwinds.
Special whirlwind warnings have been issued to the counties of East Viru, Jõgeva, Järva, West Viru, Põlva, Pärnu, Rapla, Tartu, Valga, Viljandi and Võru.