ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Winds estimated between 80 mph and 100 mph tore down limbs and knocked out electrical power in parts of the city Friday night in Hillsboro.
The storm hit shortly after 10 p.m. and reached its peak by 10:25.
With limbs falling on power lines, residents living on the east side of Washington Street and further east lost power about 10:15 p.m.; the west side of Washington Street and further west lost power within a half hour after that.
Residents on the city’s third electrical circuit on the north side of town did not lose power all evening, according to Steve Garrett, city administrator.
The city’s electrical crew, with the assistance of fire department volunteers, restored power around midnight.
“Crisis management is part of our job description,” Garrett said. “These guys responded pretty quickly and got done what needed to get done. I’ve always been impressed with our crew.”
As of Monday, Garrett said he was not aware of major structural damage in town, but knew of some vehicles that were hit by falling tree limbs.
Judging from the size and number of limbs that fell, the brunt of the storm appeared to settle on an east-corridor about one block wide, starting from the Tabor College campus and heading west to Cedar Street.
The wind actually uprooted a few trees in the area. One tree on the Tabor campus snapped at the base of its 2-foot trunk. Fallen tree limbs at the corner of Lincoln and C streets, as well as the corner of Cedar and B streets, partially blocked streets.
On Monday, city staff, with the help of Dalke Construction, were removing the limbs and branches that residents had piled at curbside over the weekend.
At the city’s newly opened aquatic center, the wind snapped three of the four large umbrella poles, sending some of the umbrellas into surrounding neighborhoods.
Cleanup of the pool delayed the start of Saturday’s schedule swim meet between Hillsboro, Marion and Peabody by about two hours.
Garrett said he had heard nothing that might indicate the storm was more than straight winds, although the way branches and debris were propelled indicated the wind may have had some updraft to it.
“The umbrella on our lawn furniture was on our roof,” he cited as one example that, literally, hit close to home.
Around Hillsboro, crews with the Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative Association worked well into Saturday to repair poles and lines.
Westar Energy, meanwhile, reported seven poles down in the county, affecting 89 customers.