Sudden storm downs trees, knocks out electricity

Published 8:36 am Monday, September 8, 2014

Thursday’s strong winds caused a limb from an oak tree to pierce the roof of a house on Mississippi Avenue.

The home belongs to Joe Billings, who lives there with his elderly mother, Janice. The tree is on city-owned property. The limb, which Billings estimated at 60 feet long, damaged the roof and rafters. Billings said the limb went all the way through to the attic.

“It was about 4:30 Thursday afternoon when the storm came through,” Joe Billings said. “The tree limb that fell is like a tree itself. I’ve had been watching that limb for a while. My mother was at home at the time, and she almost had a heart attack.”

Billings estimated repairs from Thursday’s damage to be $3,000. He said he carries no homeowners insurance.

“I’ve told the city it needs to trim these trees,” Billings said.

Billings said am 8-inch limb from the same tree knocked off the overhang last year.

City Public Works Director James Hall said the city is not liable.

“The city is not at fault. That was an act of nature,” Hall said. “We haven’t had any reports of any trees being bad. That is why people carry homeowners insurance.”

The National Weather Service reported no tornado watches or warnings for Thursday. It said wind gusts in the area reached 45 miles an hour.

“We had a small area thunderstorm that came through around 4:40 p.m.,” Hall said. “It didn’t cover the entire city. It mainly hit in the north and northeast parts of the city. “

Hall reported a tree fell on a car on Hudson Street, but the driver escaped injury. He said there were other reports of a power outage at Cassidy Park, along with downed trees in other parts of town.

“We worked until 9 or 10 p.m. to clear streets of limbs,” Hall said. “Most Brookside residents were without power until 1 a.m.”