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Storm rips through Marshall

July 1, 2011
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - A violent summer storm packed with winds upwards of 80 mph, large hail and torrential rain blew through Marshall on Friday evening, leaving in its wake uprooted trees, fallen branches and downed power lines all over the city.

Skies above Marshall turned from a clear blue, to gray, then to a light green before things went dark around 4:30 p.m. as a warm, muggy day turned nasty.

"The wind was blowing extremely hard. It was enough for me to not take any chances," said Gary Vincent, who lives on North 5th Street. "So we went down the basement. Better to be safe than sorry."

Article Photos

Photo by Per Peterson

This sidewalk on Mustang Trail off East College Drive was no match for this uprooted tree. Hundreds of trees, both big and small, fell victim to Friday afternoon’s storm that packed winds around 80 mph.

Vincent has lived in Marshall for more than 30 years and said Friday's storm was as bad as he's seen.

"This is the worst I've seen it in this neighborhood," Vincent said. "Not even close. I called my wife; she was over in South Dakota. She called me just as it was hitting there and I told her, 'Well, we're getting it now.' We got hail - pretty close to golf-ball size. Got a little bit of damage; I'll have to inspect it more later. The power went out at 4:30 and it looked like it was 10 at night. When you see green skies, that means hail and anything else that comes along with it. You can say whatever you want - straight-line winds or whatever, but it was bad."

"It was really loud," said Ashley Benson, who lives on Redwood Street. "I was just watching trees fall down all the time. I was watching, probably shouldn't have been. It was green and dark and pouring, hailing."

Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes said an emergency declaration began at 6 p.m. in the city of Marshall after the storm ripped through the city.

Nearly every street in Marshall was filled with fallen trees, some to the point where roads are impassable.

"We obviously had significant storm damage due to the high winds and heavy rain," Byrnes said. "We have a lot of localized street flooding. At this point there are no reports of injuries within the city."

Byrnes said most of the damage in the city came in the form of uprooted trees and fallen branches. A large portion of the city was without power for some time during and after the storm. Most of the power within the city had been restored by 6 p.m.

Byrnes said no travel is advised in the city of Marshall because of all the branches, debris and power lines that were felled by the storm. He said clean-up began almost immediately after the storm blew through and will last throughout the weekend.

There were no reports of any injuries, Byrnes said.

"I've been mayor for 19 years and haven't seen a storm like that that has been so widespread through the community," Byrnes said. "There has never been this much damage throughout the community. However, we are fortunate the primary damage is to trees; some homes were hit with trees and there was some hail and window damage, but we have had people injured and people still have their homes."

Wally Sherman of Marshall was driving from Marshall to Balaton on Lyon County Road 7 when the storm hit.

"My car was bouncing up and down; I didn't know if it was gonna tip over or what," Sherman said. "Couldn't see no more, so I pulled into a farmer's driveway. It wasn't the most settling time. Saw some golf ball-size hail. But the wind - you couldn't see the hood. It was a scary time. After I pulled off some guy went by me, but I don't know where he went. The wind must've been 60, 70 mph. Had an awful time driving on 7 because of the trees. I almost had to drive in the ditch in some places."

Beatrice Olson of Marshall got home about five minutes before the storm hit.

"When we were in the basement - I know a tornado sounds like a freight train - but it was getting pretty loud," said Olsen, who lives on North 5th Street. "It sounded like trees snapping and sounded like things were hitting the house. "I drove up to the house about five minutes before it hit. The sky over East College Drive was green. It was the most beautiful green, it was really gorgeous. I've never seen that in my life - a few different shades of green."

"You could definitely hear the wind blowing through the house," said Chris Olsen. "It sounded like someone was upstairs doing something. The house was creaking pretty good."



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