Tornado Rips Through Wisconsin City

A tornado killed one person and damaged dozens of homes as it roared through this southern Wisconsin city late Thursday.

At least eight other people were hospitalized as the severe storms blasted their way across the central and southern parts of the state, authorities said.

"The sky just exploded. It was debris everywhere," said David Murray, 43, who captured the Stoughton tornado on his camera phone. "When it went across the road and it hit all the houses over there ... it was something you can't explain. It just exploded."

State Emergency Management spokeswoman Lori Getter (search) said one person died in the tornado and five others were hospitalized; she had no further information about the victims. The tornado destroyed 15 homes, and 35 others had moderate to severe damage, she said.

The storms also damaged homes in Viola, about 70 miles northwest of Madison. Getter said three people there were treated for injuries and about 70 to 80 homes were damaged.

"There's houses half gone. All the trees in town are gone," said Bill Bender, owner of the Viola Quick Stop (search). "There was stuff flying by the building, like big chunks."

Storm debris traveled eastward in clouds, depositing papers, shingles and other materials in the Milwaukee area, some 60 miles from Stoughton.

Murray described seeing a smashed truck upside down in the middle of a wrecked house, and debris, including an engine block, strewn across the nearby Stoughton Country Club.

As the storm approached, golfers had started coming off the course, and about 40 people huddled in the club's basement and waited, said the club's executive chef, Lenny Peaslee.

The storm peeled the roof back like the lid of a box, he said.

"We heard the rumble, rumble, then crash, boom, bang," Peaslee said. "Insulation as far you can see. It nailed us ... the course is pretty much a mess. There's trees down everywhere you look."