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.