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High winds create a mess of trees in county

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A tree from the neighbor's yard fell on the apartment building at 709 North Alabama Street (left) during the storm that came through Brazil shortly after midnight Tuesday, while a large tree in the front yard of Kevin and Angie Gibbens home (right), 8686 North County Road 300 West, was uprooted.
Another storm has hit Clay County, and this time wind was the major factor.

"We've been out since just after midnight cleaning up fallen trees," Clay County Highway Superintendent Pete Foster said. "The wind also knocked down quite a few power lines, but no more damage has been done to the roads."

The storm, which came in late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, had wind gusts that reached up to 60 mph.

Fallen trees blocked traffic at times on United States 40, State Road 59, Interstate-70, along with many other areas.

"There was a lot of wind damage in the northern area near the Parke County line," Foster said. "It knocked out power to a lot of residents and we have to wait on the electric company to clean up the fallen power lines before we can clean up the trees in areas where they both fell."

In some cases, like at the intersection of Georgia and Alabama streets and on Kennedy Crossing Road, Brazil, trees fell onto residents' homes.

"We are still working to get the trees cleaned up off of houses and roads," Foster said. "There are still some large limbs out there."

Christy Malone's family was enjoying a "scary movie" on television when the storms roared through Brazil shortly after midnight Tuesday.

"It scared my children," Malone told The Brazil Times while surveying the front porch area of the house. "They say it was the scariest moment of their lives."

The high winds caused a tree in the neighbor's yard to fall on the home at 709 North Alabama that has been divided into two apartments, one of which Malone rents. She said a lot of people have been "driving real slow" past her house to look at the damage.

"So far there isn't any damage in the second floor bedroom, but I've yet to get in the crawlspace," she said. "I think there is some damage next door, but we don't how much know yet. The landlord is sending someone out later to check."

It's been a frustrating summer for the Malone family, whose home was flooded with four feet of water in June.

"We lost a lot of clothing, linens, furniture and other stuff when the basement flooded," she said. "It's been a horrible, almost devastating summer so far. It seems like its never ending."

Members of the Dick Johnson, Jackson Township, Posey and Van Buren Township volunteer fire departments were working late into Tuesday afternoon to clear storm damage from roadways in the northern part of the county.

According to the Duke Energy web site, 4,932 Clay County residents had lost power since 10:49 p.m., Monday night, and 173 remained without power as of 9 p.m., Tuesday.

"We got out and restored power in areas where a large grid was down," Duke Energy Business Relations Manager Rick Burger said. "Right now, we are trying to fix the individual homes that lost power which is time consuming."

Burger said it may be Thursday or Friday before all customers have their power restored, and that Duke Energy has sent out more than 100 additional crewmembers in Clay, Vigo and Parke counties to expedite the process.

"The wind was so strong that it even affected some of our transnational lines," he said. "The main impact was on the area line fuses and transformers, but we are making progress to get everyone's power back on."

With the clean up effort ongoing, Burger encourages residents to take caution when driving and near downed trees and power lines.

"There are quite a few trees down, and when some of them fell, they brought down power lines also," Burger said. "The best thing to do is stay away from downed lines because they may still be live and they are extremely dangerous."

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Listening to my Clay County Dispatch Radio Monday night I know the Fire Departments in the North part of our county were very busy and it sounded like they did a fine job of clearing downed trees off of the roads and keeping people safely away from downed power lines until Duke Energy could get there to shut off power to the those downed lines.

As far as problems in Bowling Green we had only one reported downed tree on the North side of County Rd. 375 East. It was a rather large tree to be moving by hand so we contacted the County Roads Department who came and erected Road Closed signs until one of there crews could get there later on Tuesday morning.

Once again, good job by the Fire Departments, Search and Rescue, Electric companies and the County and State road workers to mitigate the problems.

-- Posted by BowlingGreenGuy on Wed, Jul 23, 2008, at 2:51 PM

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