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Weekend storm rips through Barry County

 Saturday's storm dropped trees onto a garage at the Boulter home off Woodruff Road.

Hunter Dood

Staff Writer

 

Strong thunderstorms and heavy winds swept through the area over the weekend hitting Hastings the hardest early Saturday morning.

Barry County Road Commission Managing Director Brad Lamberg said the storm cost Barry County approximately $12,000.  Members of county repair and cleanup crews, who received praise from county officials, were forced to work all weekend and into Monday to clear fallen trees from roads.

The Barry County Fair, which ended Saturday night, was still in full swing when the storm developed, so fairgoers and participants were forced to hunker down onsite until it blew over.

Wayne Hoepner, a meteorologist at the Grand Rapids office of the National Weather Service, said winds were reported up to 70 miles per hour in the area. These were “straight line winds,” he said, noting meteorologists saw “very little rotation” that would have indicated tornado-like activity in the Hastings area.

Rain occurred throughout the day on Saturday, with a majority of the rainfall in the early morning and the evening hours.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued in Barry County at 1:42 a.m. Meteorologists were expecting possible roof damage, siding damage and downed trees due to high winds.

According to a press release from Consumers Energy, more than 220,000 homes and businesses in the state were left without power from the storms.

“Barry County wasn’t one of the top counties in terms of outages,” Consumers Energy Senior Public Information Director Terry DeDoes said, adding that 7,470 customers in the county experienced power outages – far fewer than the 59,644 customers who had power outages in Kent County. But, in Barry County, the percentage of those customers who lost power - 27 percent – was greater compared to the 21 percent of Consumers Energy customers who lost power in Kent County.

Lamberg of the county road commission said it appeared that the storm was not concentrated in one particular region since work was scattered throughout the county. 

Hastings residents Charles and Theresa Boulter, who live off Woodruff Road, had multiple fallen trees in their yard. Large trees landed on their garage and damaged the roof. Theresa Boulter was very thankful that the couple's house wasn’t hit, especially since one tree crashed to the ground within 15 feet of the residence.

Boulter compared the storm – that was so violent it woke the couple from their sleep – to a tornado she once heard sweep through saying, “it felt just like that.  I hope I don’t have to do this again.”

 

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