NewsMontana and Regional News


Mission Valley land spout wreaks havoc on farm

A land spout ripped through a farm and took a roof right off of a barn.
Land Spout
Posted at 1:53 PM, May 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-11 16:09:02-04

ST. IGNATIUS - It seems like something straight out of the Wizard of Oz after a land spout ripped through a farm and took a roof right off of a barn.

Well, it happened on the evening of May 9, 2023, in St. Ignatius.

“I wasn’t home but my neighbors called me and said that a little funnel cloud just touched down and took the roof off of my barn," owner Donna Coffman told MTN News "I was just really happy it wasn't the shop or the house but I felt really bad for my animals. They were kinda traumatized.”

Donna Coffman and her barn
Donna Coffman's roof was ripped off of her barn by a land spout in the Mission Valley on May 9, 2023.

The landspout moved right over Coffman’s barn, killing some newborn kittens sleeping in the rafters and forcing chickens and pigs, including her grandson's pig Maverick, out of their homes.

“All of the roof from the barn is scattered all over, the debris scattered all over," Coffman said. "I think there are some neighbors who’ve got some of the tin from the barn in their fields as well.”

Coffman said that the barn is insured and that she is working through the claim process.

Barn destroyed
The strong winds took parts of the tin roof right off the barn

Residents of the area, just north of St. Ignatius, say that this isn’t the first time a funnel has wreaked havoc nearby.

In fact, decades ago, another roof was destroyed just a few miles away and Jerry Johnson was caught right in the middle of it.

“Back in the 80s, I had 20 acres of barley planted and I was combining it. And I could see the funnel coming across the field. I finished combining, was heading out of the field with the combine and the funnel was coming. And I just got past the hay shed and all the sudden it just turned black," Johnson recalled. "And I felt the combine shaking and a few seconds later it was clear again, and I got out of the combine and the whole roof was off the top of the hay shed,” explained Johnson.

Jerry Johnson
Jerry Johnson has lived through the two landspouts that came down in the area

While it wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him, he hopes that twice is enough.

Some property damage was reported from Tuesday's land spout in Lake County, no injuries have been reported.


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