Labor Day storm damage estimated at $100,000

Courtesy photo by Scott Zogelman<p>This photo of the super cell formation was taken at Marion County Lake as it caused havoc around the Eastshore area of Marion Reservoir on Labor Day. ? Eastshore area hit hardest, plus Marion and county lake.

Straight-line winds exceeding 70 mph on Labor Day evening caused considerable damage to buildings, roofs and trees in and around the Marion Reser?voir.

Randy Frank, Marion County Emergency Manage?ment director, said one of the hardest hit areas was the Eastshore neighborhood. Nearby communities experienced damage, too.

?The co-op had roof damage in Canada, and some of the residences had tree and roof damage,? Frank said.

Throughout Marion, he added, the storm left in its wake downed power lines and trees as well as roof damage in residential sections.

City of Marion

Marion City Admini?strator Roger Holter said power was out from 7:12 p.m. to 10:33 p.m. when Westar Energy came back on line.

?We had a few individual houses out until 4:30 a.m. (Tuesday), and crews worked all night (restoring power),? he said.

Homes in the Jex Addi?tion and on Billings Street had damage and some street flooding occurred on South Second and Third streets, he said.

?Aaron Unruh on Billings Street lost his fence and had siding damage,? he said. ?Bernice Beach of HRK had roof damage for the third time.?

One of the buildings at the Marion Municipal Air?port was destroyed by the storm; the plan is to remove the structure once all the other clean-up efforts were completed, Holter said.

?Mayor Todd Heit?schmidt came out on Lin?coln Street with a chain saw in hand to clear downed limbs on the street and from his neighbor?s properties,? he said.

Marion County Lake

Holter, who lives at Marion County Park and Lake, said he also saw damage to trailers there.

?Bob and July Priest lost the top of their home due to winds,? he said.

Another county lake resident, Jackie Volbrecht, said a 30-foot tree in the backyard fell on their home.

?I had no warning,? Volbrecht said. ?It seemed like (the storm) happened really fast. The sky went black with walls of rain and it sounded like a jet engine.?

The major concern for Volbrecht was a little building behind her house that serves as her stained-glass studio.

?I phoned Dutton Tree Service and told them if that tree falls, it would be thousands of dollars damage,? she said. ?If he hadn?t taken the top off (the tree), my glass shop would have been crushed, plus the porch would have been toast.?

At Marion Reservoir, Mel Boling of Wichita and Russell Thom of Hays were cleaning up Wednesday on Crusie Street.

Thom said he was surprised that two-thirds of the skirting around his mobile home was blown out.

?After we repaired the skirting, we wanted to help some of our neighbors with tree branches and limbs,? he said.

As Thom cut limbs with a chain saw, Boling loaded the wood into a pickup.

?This will make great fire wood,? he said.

Even though many people at the reservoir had a lot of cleanup work, most kept a positive attitude.

Pat Evancho said she and her husband lost a portion of their roof shingles because of the storm, but she was grateful for no water damage.

Marion Reservoir

The JW Storage building, at the turnoff to Cottonwood Point, sustained major damage with one of the campers significantly damaged.

The majority of the metal building, Frank said, was scattered throughout the neighboring field, and trees along 220th Road and Paw?nee had bark stripped from the trunks.

Frank said an oil battery was struck by lightning about two miles north of the reservoir and many access roads into the campsites were closed so park officials could continue clean-up efforts.

?We had flooding in a lot of the low-lying areas, but the county?s road and bridge crew closed off those areas so people wouldn?t drive in unsafe places,? he said.

Both Holter and Frank said they were proud of the emergency teams working around the clock.

Holter said: ?The city team came out within 15 minutes of the storm to clear the streets of trees and limbs with loaders.?

Electrical teams were hanging lines all night, and the police department was performing safety checks for residents.

?Harvey Sanders (who is retired from the city?s electric department) came out Monday night to help monitor system conditions at the electrical sub-station assisting our crews so they could stay focused on helping individual homeowners with outages,? Holter said.

Assistance from Hillsboro

The following day, Holter said the city of Hillsboro sent two teams to help replace broken utility poles and to give Marion teams needed rest.

?Some of those crews were reinstalling wires for 18 hours straight,? he said.

Holter said the public works and police department executed the city?s emergency plan ?flawlessly.?

?City residents had power in one-third the time compared to nearby areas,? he said.

Frank said one thing he hopes can be gleaned from this storm is appreciation for the work of emergency crews.

?All the emergency services (personnel) worked tirelessly throughout (Monday) night and into the next day to ensure everybody?s safety and in putting things back in order,? he said.

Holter added: ?We sometimes take these folks for granted. They leave their families and personal crisis behind to come out and serve the citizens.?

Frank estimated the damage to businesses and homes from the Labor Day storm at about $100,000.

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