Some property owners on Stratton Lake are surveying the damage from a storm that brought down numerous trees, some of them landing on the roofs of their cottages.
“We could be living in Oklahoma or Texas. I guess it could have been worse,” Tom Olson said as he stood outside the cottage that has been in his family since 1930, waiting for a visit from his insurance company.
The storm occurred shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, and Olson’s cottage at N1576 Johanknecht Lane was among those affected.
A tree in the backyard landed on the roof of the cottage.
Olson and his wife live in Wauwatosa and also own the cottage next door, as well as a farmstead a mile away.
They had just left their cottage a day earlier, after celebrating the Memorial Day weekend here.
One of their neighbors on Stratton Lake called them Tuesday to alert them of the storm damage.
That neighbor was Richard Wudtke.
He and his wife are permanent residents on Stratton Lake, which is in the town of Dayton.
They live at the corner of Johanknecht Lane and Stratton Lake Road and were home at the time of the storm.
Wudtke said it was raining hard for about an hour.
“It was coming down straight,” he said. “All of a sudden, the wind was just going left, right, up and down,” he said.
He decided to move his wife’s car into their garage. When he went back inside their home, she headed to the basement with their dog.
“I saw our picnic table with the glass top flip over and roll down the hill,” Wudtke said. “As quickly as it started, it stopped. It was still raining. I didn’t realize the damage until after it was done.
After receiving the call from Wudtke, Olson arrived back in rural Waupaca around 6 p.m.
He said there was no water damage in either of the cottages and recalled a storm that hit there in 2011, also causing damage and resulting in a new roof being put on one of the cottages.
Andy Carlin, Waupaca County’s emergency management director, stopped by with Deputy Director Eric Halverson to assess the damage.
Carlin noted a number of the trees down in the saturated ground appeared to be rotted.
He also said the county did not receive any calls on Tuesday about storm damage. He learned of it after receiving a telephone call from the National Weather Service, asking him to check out the reports the agency heard.
Paul and Shelley Nulton, of Appleton, were also among those assessing the damage from Tuesday’s storm.
Their property at N1534 Johanknecht Lane has been in the family since 1929.
“The property is in the family five generations,” he said. “We are descendants of Lyman Dayton, who came here in 1850.”
While the descendants are all scattered today, he said they “still come back. It is home base.”
Nulton, who was the pastor at First United Methodist Church in Waupaca from 1999 to 2004, was at the cottage at the time of Tuesday’s storm.
He was getting ready to run an errand.
“It was at 1:45 p.m.,” Nulton said.
As Nulton headed from the cottage to his car, he got drenched with rain.
The rain pelted his car as he drove on Johanknecht Lane.
Nulton headed east on Stratton Lake Road, where it was raining but not as hard.
“I was gone half an hour. I came back and saw all this,” he said of the trees down in the yard.
His wife said they and others had just spent the holiday weekend there. She expressed her thankfulness that the storm did not occur then.
The storm’s strong winds and rain tipped over swings in the yard but left one item untouched.
“It didn’t even turn the bench over,” Nulton said of the bench located next to one of the trees taken down in the storm.
“It has sentimental value,” he said. “My son-in-law’s father made the bench. It has the Methodist Church logo and a Scripture verse on it.”
The bench was gift for all the fathers in the family on a past Father’s Day.