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Storms blow through area, cause scattered damage in both states

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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Oregon County road crews were busy Monday, Aug. 8, cleaning up debris after a Sunday night storm.

"We've got trees down all over the county," Oregon County Presiding Commissioner Patrick Ledgerwood said early Aug. 8. "It was quite a storm -- it blew pretty hard."

Ledgerwood said the northern part of the county sustained the most damage, although it was mostly downed trees without buildings being hit. One death was reported in Shannon County, where a tree hit a truck.

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The National Weather Service in Springfield reported straight-line winds of about 60 mph in some areas, although the thunderstorm yielded only about a quarter-inch of rain across the area.

As of 5:30 p.m. Aug. 8, there were 1,855 Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative members without power, according to the cooperative's member services director, Myles Smith. By 6 a.m. Tuesday, all but 424 customers (from a high of 2,500 without power) were back on line.

Power outages, caused by winds toppling trees and damaging power poles, were primarily in the Mountain View, Birch Tree, Winona and Eminence areas.

The cooperative was assisted by crews from neighboring cooperatives to restore power.

Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative officials said that with the automated metering system in place, the cooperative was aware of those without power, and was working quickly and safely to get power restored.

Arkansas damage reports

A storm which kicked up Saturday night, Aug. 6, also was accompanied by strong winds that caused structural damage in the Glencoe area in Fulton County, Ark.

S and S Homes on Highway 62/412 near Highway 289 near Salem was especially hard hit.

Winds scattered metal from manufactured homes on display, tossed one home about five feet forward and damaged the roof of another home.

"This home probably would have toppled over, but the concrete steps leading into the home probably saved it," said S and S Homes manager Mike Spurlock. Pointing out how the frame bent as winds pitched it forward off of its blocks, Spurlock added, "This one may be a total loss."

A metal carport was also picked up and thrown into the air, landing several hundred feet away, on the gate to the business. Wind also destroyed a wooden portable, storage building.

"When the sheriff's department called us Saturday night, they said the National Weather Service believed a tornado had touched down," Spurlock said.

A tornado has not been confirmed.

A short distance away on Golden Star Road, a barn was blown down and the roof was blown off a shop building.

Damage appeared to be widely scattered, however.

Fulton County Judge Charles Willett said the only damage report his office had received concerned a fallen tree.

Another thunderstorm moved through on Sunday night, Aug. 7, but did not cause major damage.

During the weekend storms, lightening apparently struck the federal building in Salem. The hit knocked out computer service in the license bureau office, which was unable to issue drivers licenses on Monday, Aug. 8.

Cherokee Village resident Pat Saraoli said the Sunday night storm picked up a neighbor's tree, about 20 inches in diameter and 80 feet tall, tossed it over a hill and then set it down in her yard.

"I've never seen anything lift up like that before," Saraoli said. "The tree didn't fall down. It was picked up."

Saraoli said the storm came through Cherokee Village about 9 p.m., also damaging a Bradford pear tree in her front yard.

The tree in the backyard most perplexed her, though.

"It missed all my statues when it came down," Saraoli said. "Thank goodness."



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