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Large hail destroys dozens of crops north of Sturgeon Bay

"Heart-sinking devastation," said one farmer

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV)-- Farmers in southern Door County are assessing the storm damage Tuesday after strong winds and large hail swept across the area overnight.

The storm stripped grapes off vines, shredded corn stalks, and pummeled apple trees. 

For many farmers in that area, the crops were a total loss.

“It’s just jaw dropping.  Heart sinking devastation,” said Bob Fellner of Fellner Orchards.

he storm hit the western part of the peninsula, just north of Sturgeon Bay, around 10:30 p.m. Monday, according the NWS in Green Bay, producing quarter size hail and strong winds.

The hail was so fierce it tore off the skin of dozens of apples at Fellner Orchards in Sturgeon Bay.

 “Might have to cinch your belt a little tighter, rein in the spending a little but you get through it," said Fellner.

Parts of Door County saw hail piles up to several inches high. 

“If I took all of the hail storms I’ve seen and put them together it still wouldn’t match what we saw here last night," said, Matt Stasiak the Superintendent and Researcher at Peninsular Agricultural Research Station.

Coming off a brutal winter—many of the crops were already damaged.  Last night was one more blow to the ag industry in this area.

“The fruit itself has either been knocked from the tree or bruised, then in the case of the grapes, some of the vineyards have 80-90% leaves have been stripped off," said Stasiak.”

While insurance will cover the damage to the crops it won’t cover the several research projects that were destroyed on this farm.  All they can do is hope to salvage what they can and begin to rebuild.  



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