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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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