Thunderstorm results in damage 2011.06.02

Written by David Green.

storm_johncoxBy DAVID GREEN

A fast-moving thunderstorm Sunday afternoon left Morenci littered with fallen trees and wires. At least two residents reported seeing rotation in clouds passing over, but there was no confirmation of a tornado.

A tornado warning was posted for Lenawee County before 5 p.m. Sunday, predicting that a severe thunderstorm showing some rotation would strike Morenci around 5:10.

The storm hit right on schedule and soon reduced visibility to near zero with blowing rain, leaves and seeds. Large limbs and trees began falling, leaving the most damage since a severe thunderstorm hit the town in May 2000.

Merlin Avis of 201 E. Locust St. said he and a neighbor both spotted a funnel cloud overhead as the storm passed through. That area of town was heavily damaged.

Starting at the intersection of N. Summit and Locust, two trees fell across Summit Street. Down the block past the Avis house, a tree was flattened and another went down at the next residence. Across the street, two large limbs fell and a utility pole snapped, dropping wires onto the ground.

Additional trees and limbs went down in the neighborhood as the storm continued east. A porch was smashed by a falling tree one block to the north on Union Street and a large maple tree toppled onto the Anne Johncox residence on Burley Street.

Morenci fire chief Chad Schisler said the damage showed the characteristics of a straight line wind and not of a tornado.

Driving was difficult with detours throughout the city, but Morenci fire department members responded to the damage quickly, clearing streets where possible and blocking streets where wires had fallen. Chains saws were heard throughout the city during the next few hours and again Monday.

“We worked until 2 a.m. to make sure roads were passable for a fire truck,” Schisler said. “That was our main concern.”

The department worked in cooperation with a single Consumers Energy repair person.

“He did an awesome job,” Schisler said.

Although power wasn’t restored to all customers, he helped clear streets of fallen wires.

The initial estimate Sunday night by Consumers placed the number of outages across the state at about 108,000, including 4,700 customers in Lenawee County.

Consumers repair trucks were still in town Tuesday night working to restore power to several Morenci customers.

Before the storm reached Morenci, winds knocked over several trees and dropped large branches at Harrison Lake State Park southwest of Fayette. Several camping units were damaged, but no injuries were reported.

Morenci climate observer George Isobar measured three-quarters of an inch of rain from the storm, almost as much as as what fell in a storm early Sunday morning. Isobar said that small hail also fell during Sunday’s storm.

Total precipitation for May stands at 7.04 inches, making this year the second wettest May since current records were kept in 1976. 

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016