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Storm strikes middle of townTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Uprooted tree, A and Erma
Photo by George Lauby
Torn up tree, crumpled sign, B & McDonald
Courtesy Photo­Image
Locust tree uprooted on the northwest corner of the McKinley Center, Willow and E.
Photo by George Lauby
First Baptist Church, B & McDonald
Photo by George Lauby
Fence near A and Anna
Photo by George Lauby
Trimmed and tangled branches, B & Sherman
Photo by George Lauby
City clean up, 2600 block Wright St.
Photo by George Lauby
Treetop torn off, A and Anna
Photo by George Lauby
Near Orabella Square, B & Charles, south of the high school.
Courtesy Photo­Image

A strong downburst of wind tore through the middle of North Platte late Thursday night, uprooting trees, tearing off branches and blowing things around.

The worst damage occurred around 10:30-11 p.m. during a heavy rain that dropped about an inch-and-a-half of water on the city in less than an hour.

The damage began a few blocks northwest of Buffalo Bill Ave. and A St. and continued across town past Philip and Tabor.

The width of the most severe damage along the path was generally 2-4 blocks.

Meteorologist Kenny Roberg of the National Weather Service said the storm came from the west, with straight winds of 60 miles an hour that increased to up to 100 mph as the storm cut through town.

Roberg said the storm gained strength in northwest Lincoln County. As it went through North Platte strong "wet microbursts" -- downbursts of wind -- caused the worst damage.

As trees went down, branches shorted some primary electrical lines and took out power. Reports of electrical outages began to come in around 10:30 p.m., Cindy Huntsman of the Municipal Light and Water department said.

City crews went to work right away to restore power. Power to main lines was restored by 4:30 a.m.

The worst damage was around the Westfield shopping plaza. A few blocks east, trees were torn apart all around the First Baptist Church at B and McDonald, but the church suffered only minor damage.

The west end of the downbursts occurred in the area of 2700 W. Fifth, Huntsman said.

Ed Moore at 2615 Wright was looking out the front window, heard the downburst wind and saw trees fall. The burst tore off the south side of his maple tree right in front of his house, but the tree closer to the house was undamaged.

Near B and Sherman, Derek Thompson said his ears started to hurt and the house shook for 2-4 minutes. A locust tree was torn up, but most of it missed the house. His backyard was strewn with tree limbs.

Part of a roof was torn off a duplex on Anna. Cars, backyard fences and sheds were damaged by wind and falling branches. Fortunately, most of the physical damage was apparently confined to trees, Huntsman said.

A large branch broke off a cottonwood tree at the McKinley Education center and damaged the roof, Maintenance Director Scott Pursley said.

Huntsman said all available city workers were out on the streets cleaning up debris during the night and through the day Friday. Crews took the limbs to the city transfer station near the Lake Maloney inlet.

Anyone can drop storm debris at the transfer station at no charge, she said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 8/3/2013
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