Severe storms blow through 6.11

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It’s easy to say that Morenci skirted another severe storm Sunday night, but don’t tell that to Virginia Gore. Her garage lies smashed under the trunk of a maple tree and inside the garage is her car.

Gore just feels lucky it wasn’t her under the tree, too. When she saw the stormy sky, she hurried outside to bring in laundry from the line and walked back into the house through her garage. She just got back in the house when the tree came down.

“I just made it out of the garage,” she said. “I thank God the kids weren’t hurt and I was the only one home.”

Gore was surprised how fast the storm seemed to move in, and without any warnings given.

Morenci’s assistant fire chief Brad Lonis learned about the severity of the storm from the emergency radio scanner.

“I started hearing Waldron and Hudson getting calls—several right in a row—and I went to the station,” Lonis said. “No sooner did I get there when we started getting calls.”

The Morenci Fire Department received seven calls, one after the other, for trees, limbs and wires down. Several calls were to Morenci homes, but the department also responded to a few rural locations, including Medina.

Damage was mostly limited to a small section of town—along East Chestnut Street between Summit and East Street North.

“That’s a little odd because it’s reminiscent of the storm we had in May 2000,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s climate observer for the National Weather Service. “That time the storm came through town about one block south. Damage was a lot more widespread that day, but the worst of it was in that same area near the old middle school.”

It was a different matter Monday night. Damage was widespread from a storm that moved into the area shortly before 7:30 p.m. Firefighters responded to several reports of fallen trees and limbs, and also fought a house fire that was presumably caused by a lightning strike.

Monday’s storm was different in one other respect: significant rainfall.

Isobar noted the two previous storms brought lots of wind, but didn’t deliver much in the way of rain.

“We had seven-hundredths of an inch Friday and the same amount Sunday,” he said. “We’ve had rain on five days of the first eight this month, but it’s totaled only .69.”

That changed Monday when 1.27 was measured.

There’s one bright side to Virginia Gore’s story. She quickly learned the value of good neighbors Sunday evening.

“I’ve never seen such wonderful neighbors,” she said.

Several people in the neighborhood quickly offered their support and assistance, and that was a comfort after the close call she experienced.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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