Citywide cleanup continues in Cannon Falls a week after major storms

More than a week after the storms, a big cleanup job remains in Cannon Falls, Minnesota as people pitch in to clear away the debris left behind during when a tornado touched down during last week's severe weather outbreak.

Life is not back to normal yet for residents of the southern Minnesota town. In fact, there's still a lot of work to do.

Cannon Falls is known for its picturesque views, its bike trail and its historic downtown, but more than a week ago a tornado decimated the city. Today, volunteers from all over came together to clean up.

It was a family affair at the St. Ansgars Lutheran Cemetery in Cannon Falls.

“It’s almost every tree in the whole cemetery, a direct hit, a lot of them are really old,” said Tony Busiahn of Cannon Falls. “The cemetery has been here since the late 1880’s so some of those trees are that old.”

Tony Busiahn brought his young son to pitch in on cleaning up their church's graveyard.

“I like to teach him to help out when things like this happen,” Busiahn said. “Everyone has to pitch in and clean up the mess.”

Cannon Falls was one of the hardest-hit areas in southern Minnesota more than a week ago after at least eight tornadoes slammed the area. Straight line winds took down massive trees, destroyed parks, trails and knocked power out for days.

Saturday was an all-day volunteer effort to haul debris away and wipe up the mess.

"We lost a lot of really big and mature trees and people who are familiar with Cannon Falls knows that we have fabulous parks, we got the river through here and so when you come down here and bike through our trails and parks it’s just going to feel different,” said Cannon Falls Police Chief Jeff McCormick.

Group after group picked a block to clean up. Thankfully, this storm did not damage a lot of homes or kill anyone, but a lot of property was destroyed.

Myron and Deb Pauly spend a lot of their free time helping others; it's something they like to do to give back.

“We help with disaster relief, we help with flood clean up. My husband does it a lot, from Minot to Rushford. We just feel like when people are in need, you just help out. That we want to help them,” Deb Pauly said.

The Police Chief told Fox 9 the cleanup process will be ongoing, especially along the bike trail. It will be a while before all the trees are removed.