By Jason Sillman, AZFamily Digital News Staff and Holly Bock
YAVAPAI COUNTY, Arizona (KTVK, KPHO) — Officials confirmed an EF-1 tornado ripped through northern Arizona, causing damage to homes on Monday afternoon. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office says between 8-10 homes in the Junipine Estates community, eight miles north of Williams, were damaged. The National Weather Service reported winds in the area ranging between 86-110 miles per hour.
Trees were snapped and uprooted in the rural community, while parts of homes and sheds were littered across roads and yards. Residents say the tornado hit around 1:30 p.m. Among those with their homes damaged was Teresa Schmidt. She says her wooden shed was torn apart, half of her porch is gone, and her house shifted half a foot, causing cracks in the walls. Schmidt added one wall is leaning sideways, and beams are about to come through the ceiling.
Schmidt says the moments when the tornado hit was intense. “The house wouldn’t stop shaking. It felt like forever but the house started moving and I could feel it and I thought ‘oh lord it’s going to lift up,’” she said. “I feel very sad about it because I worked so hard to build this to what it was before because it’s shambles now.”
She says she’s lived in the community for 17 years and saw the storm building. “I started to see the wind get stronger and stronger, and the house started shaking. I thought it was an earthquake at the same time, then I couldn’t see out the window anymore,” she explained. Schmidt added her water tank is gone, her chicken coop is torn to pieces and her shingles ripped off her home, causing leaks in the garage. She’s now among others cleaning up the damage and picking up the pieces.
A strong line of thunderstorms hit several parts of northern Arizona, including Prescott and northwestern Coconino County. For Junipine Estates residents displaced by the tornado, the Red Cross has opened up a shelter at Williams High School. Those affected can head to 636 South 7th Street in Williams.
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