Violent storm causes lots of damage in county

Staff writer

Scattered showers Sunday developed into a thunderstorm with winds in excess of 60 miles per hour and heavy rain that roared across Marion County on Monday, leaving damage and debris of all kinds in its wake.

The northern and extreme southern parts of the county largely were unaffected, but towns in the center part of the county were hit shortly after midnight Sunday.

A private weather station at Marion County Lake recorded 5.29 inches of rain overnight. Precipitation amounts ranged from 2.5 inches at Marion Reservoir to 6.5 inches in southern parts of the county. Reporting stations in Hillsboro and Peabody clocked winds of 67 and 62 mph.

Marion city manager Roger Holter said an old hangar at the Marion airport had roof damage, doors blown off, and one support post was off the foundation.

Tree damage was reported throughout the city, and power outages were widespread.

Lightning struck one of six electrical circuits supplying the city at 12:45 a.m. It took four hours to bring it back online, Holter said.

A power pole broke in Jex Addition, interrupting the main power supply to the area. A lower voltage line pole broke, falling across a stream in a heavily wooded area. The lines had to be pulled manually across the stream because no equipment could get across.

Holter said gas pumps at Casey’s convenience store were still out as of Tuesday. USD 408 superintendent Lee Leiker reported a pool pump at the Sports and Aquatics Center burned up.

Peabody received 5½ to 6 inches of rain, police chief Bruce Burke said. Spring Creek and Doyle Creek flooded, causing minor flood damage at the south end of town.

Burke said the town received “an excessive amount” of tree damage, including 25 old trees at Prairie Lawn Cemetery.

“Branches were down everywhere,” he said. “Some on lawns, some on streets, some on utility lines.”

The city was out of electricity until 3 p.m. Monday.

Near Goessel, utility poles were toppled, and electric lines fell across K-15. A concrete silo on the Dwight M. Flaming farm just north of Goessel on K-15 was blown over. The Flamings reported taking refuge in their basement two times during the night.

Hillsboro received 4½ to 5 inches of rain, according to city administrator Larry Payne. A semi-trailer was blown over and a roof damaged at the Cooperative Grain feed mill. The top of the historic 1927 water tower was blown off.

Power outages were most severe at Florence, where the Labor Day celebration was set to begin that day. Electricity was out in parts of the town until 5:30 p.m. Monday and in other parts until 11 p.m.

“Considering we had our Labor Day celebration right after that storm, we did well,” Mayor Mary Shipman said. “We had electricity where it counted, so we could go on with the celebration.”

A house owned by Shipman suffered roof damage, and numerous tree branches had to be cleared.

Steve Hudson reported no property damage at Marion County Park and Lake, but several big trees were lost. He said two power lines were toppled, and electricity was out until 6 p.m. to part of the park. One empty trailer was flipped on its side, but campers “rode it out.”

The storm was less severe at Marion Reservoir. Park ranger Scott Dodson reported one falling tree branch cracked a vehicle’s windshield.

“We try to cut out older or diseased branches ahead of time,” he said.

Marion County emergency management director Randy Frank said it could have been worse.

“The damage we had overall was minor,” he said. “It might not have been minor for the people who had it, but in the big picture, it was minor.”

Farmers in general were happy for the moisture. County extension agent Ricky Roberts reported he had not heard about any crop damage, just lots of tree damage.

He said it would help the soybeans, maybe even allowing double-crop beans to set pods and fill in.

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