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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wild weather keeps authorities busy

Sunday, February 10, 2008

(Photo)
High straight-line winds ripped through the Oregon County/Mammoth Spring area starting about noon Jan. 29. This car belonging to Lee Simmons had a large tree limb blown onto it.
AREA -- Area residents had a wild ride last week -- weather wise.

According to officials with the Oregon County Sheriff's Department, the first calls started coming in to their office just before noon Jan. 29. Winds in excess of 60 mph had struck the Rover area in the northern part of Oregon County downing tree limbs and even some trees.

Oregon County Emergency Management Director Eric King said strong winds continued throughout the afternoon causing damage to many roofs and structures.

Northern District Commissioner Buddy Wright said his crews were out during the night cutting trees and limbs out of roadways so people could get in and out of the driveways and roads to their homes.

Southern District Commissioner John Wrenfrow said his crews also cut debris from county roads. "There was some structure damage in the southern portion of the county. A few houses had shingles blown from their roofs. A barn at Jobe suffered wind damage," Wrenfrow said.

The commissioner said it was not a tornado but it was comparable to a tornado.

Both commissioners said many area residents helped move the fallen limbs and trees from the roadways and they were grateful for their help.

John Thomason with Howell-Oregon Electric said the National Weather Service reported straight-line winds in excess of 55 mph throughout the area. He said there was wide power outages throughout the service area including Oregon County.

"Cooperative linemen began restoring electrical service around 2 p.m. and worked through the night until the last service had been restored around midnight," Thomason said.

He said approximately 900 cooperative members were effected. At least eight power poles were damaged by trees located outside of the cooperative right-of-way giving way with the force of the wind and falling on trees.

Thomason said a sub-station at Couch suffered an outage in the early morning hours of Jan. 30. He said this station is owned by Sho-Me Power and Cooperative and serves the area in and around Couch. Power was restored to the area around 8:30 a.m. but not in time for school to start at Couch School. The decision was made not to have school at Couch Wednesday.

Cooperative officials are not sure, but they think the cause of the outage at the power station may have been an aftermath of the wind storm the day before.

The southern portion of the area also received damage with about 850 Mammoth Spring residents without electricity. Mammoth Spring is supplied electricity by Entergy Arkansas. Power was restored to the Mammoth Spring area Tuesday evening.

If high winds were not enough to satisfy local weather watchers, they didn't have to wait long. Thursday morning, Jan. 31, northern Arkansas and southern Missouri woke up to a blanket of snow that accumulated to three or four inches by early afternoon.

Area law enforcement officers reported a few minor fender benders across the area but no major accidents. All schools in the area were closed Thursday. Another wave of snow hit the Oregon County-Mammoth Spring area during the night Thursday, causing another two inches accumulation of frozen precipitation. All schools in the area, the Oregon County Courthouse and various other businesses were closed due to slick roadways.

Oregon County Sheriff Tim Ward said no injuries were reported due to winds or snow.

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