Photos by Eric King
Two shop buildings that housed Rock-N-Oak Enterprises received severe damage when strong straight-line winds blew through Oregon County Jan. 8. The buildings were located just south of Alton on Highway 19. A heating and cooling business was located in one building and trikes were made in the other building. The property is owned by Dale Carey.
OREGON COUNTY -- Strong straight-line winds ripped through a portion of Oregon County during the early morning hours of Jan. 8.
According to Oregon County Emergency Management Director Eric King, the storm hit around 4:30 a.m. causing some damage in several parts of the county.
The buildings were home to Rock-N-Oak Enterprises. The Carey's who live next door to the buildings, were at home when the storm hit but their home was not damaged.
About a quarter mile south of the Carey residence, Larry Johnston lost a portion of the front porch on his home and suffered severe roof damage.
Johnston was out of town when the storm hit. A family member called and gave him the news.
Johnston had recently done extensive remodeling to the home including a new metal roof. "I just put the new roof on and new wood floors down. When I got home I had to drill holes in the ceiling to let the water drain so the whole roof did not collapse," he said. Johnston said he had five-gallon buckets all over his living room floor catching the water dripping from the ceiling.
"I thought when they called someone had died. As bad as this is, it could be worse. No one was hurt," Johnston said.
King said winds in excess of 60 mph are blamed for the damage.
He said a severe thunderstorm warning had been issued for Oregon County and the storm hit just as the warning was lifted.
Oregon County Sheriff Tim Ward said another area of the county that suffered damage was on Highway 160 near the Bonds community. "Eight to 12 trees were across some of the county roads near A Highway," Ward said.
"We only had three structures damaged and power was out for a limited period. No one was hurt and that's the main thing," Ward said.
Southern District Commissioner John Wrenfrow said his crews were out early that morning cutting trees off of county roads 139 and 129.
Northern District Commissioner Buddy Wright said his end of the county faired better than southern Oregon County.
"We had a tree down on P Highway and had to cut some small limbs from the roads. The school buses all made it through on time," Wright said.
John Thomason with Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative said crews were sent to Oregon County near the Rover area due to power outages. He said power in the area was only out a short period of time.
Thomason said he appreciates the patience of the residents in Oregon County while his company was restoring power after the storm.
Steve Lindenberg with the National Weather Service in Springfield said although the winds that hit Oregon County were very high, they were not tornadoes.
He said 10 to 12 tornadoes touched down across the state Monday night and two people were killed as a result of those storms.
Lindenburg said the closest the tornadoes got to Oregon County was Wright County where a garage and a barn were damaged. He said there were some power outages in the northern portion of Wright County and some downed trees, but no injuries were reported.