Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2001

Microburst brings trouble to town

Eudora Nursing Center, area fielded brunt of Friday’s microburst

September 13, 2001

A few reminders of Friday's storm remained earlier this week as crunched twigs and leaves littered streets near Nottingham Elementary School and tarps covered portions of the Eudora Nursing Center.

The nursing center was hit hardest, as two end walls and the roof on the south wing sustained damage, said Police Chief Bill Long. The center moved residents out of the wing Friday night.

Tuesday morning, tarps covered the south side roof and walls, and tarps patched other sections of the roof. Yellow tape marked off the south section of the building. Workers had a large truck parked on the south lawn loaded with items, and two beds remained on the lawn.

A spokesperson for the center wouldn't say what work was being done on the building or where residents were staying. Business manager Thomas Spickelmire said the center wasn't allowed to comment.

Other damage around town included tree damage and downed power lines, Long said. A house near the nursing center was particularly hard hit, he said.

"There were some other houses that had minimal shingle damage," Long said.

The area of town near the nursing home east to west from Church to Pine streets and north to south from 12th street to K-10 seemed to take the brunt of the storm, Long said.

"If you weren't in that area of town, it wasn't that windy."

A microburst caused the damage, said Paula Phillips, emergency manager for Douglas County Emergency Management.

"It's like taking a bucket of wind and dumping it," she told the city council Monday night.

Council member Willene Blackburn said Eudorans asked her why tornado sirens hadn't gone off Friday night.

Phillips said the policy to use the sirens required the threat or evidence of a tornado, neither of which fit Friday's storm.

The weather interrupted the Louisburg-Eudora varsity football game in the second quarter, sending football fans home or to shelter at Nottingham.

Recreation director Dianna Beebe said she had clean-up projects at area parks as a result of the storm.

Electric Superintendent Eldon Brown said the city contracted outside help for tree clean-up around town, ending up with about seven loads of trees.

"When the trees blow around a lot they wreak havoc on everything," Brown said.

He estimated about 15 blocks lost electricity, thanks to the storm.

"We had more than our share," he said.

The storm also kept Eudora Fire Chief Spencer McCabe and other firefighters busy. Before the storm hit, McCabe said they had already made four runs.

"We'd been running all day by then," McCabe said.

The department answered nine calls related to the storm, including the call at the Eudora Nursing Center. He said most other calls were related to downed power lines.

At Monday's city council meeting, Mayor Ron Conner commended police officers, fire fighters and others in the community for their response to the storm as well as residents for taking care of damaged property.

"With the exception of a few spots, they were cleaned up and back to normal," Conner said.

He asked Phillips how the city could improve its response. Phillips told the council it acted wisely when it had the De Soto building inspector examine buildings after the storm in lieu of Eudora building inspector Rick Treas, who was unavailable.

She suggested the city create an emergency plan that would establish responsibilities if Conner or other city officials were unavailable as well as address debris disposal.

Phillips also praised authorities and other city officials for their response to the storm.

"I think you should be pleased and proud," Phillips said. "They did an excellent job taking charge of the situation and making hard decisions."

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