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News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Devastation at Lake Isabella

Lake Isabella resident Wayne Bauer, center, had lived in the simple mobile home on the banks of the Chippewa River since 1974. Then Wednesday, powerful winds toppled several once-stately oak trees on the home, practically splitting it in half.

Winds estimated at more than 70 mph -- hurricane-force winds -- snapped off or uprooted hundreds of decades-old trees in the western Isabella County town.

Nathan Smith had just rented this three-bedroom, two-bath home for his family. The family hadn't even really moved in yet, when his wife went into labor for their fourth child, and they came home from the hospital to find trees on the roof. The home was still inhabitable, but at least 30 houses in Lake Isabella were not.

A poplar blown over by the intense winds leans on a home on Barcelona Drive.

Two workmen were working inside the as-yet-unnamed strip mall under construction on Coldwater Road when the wind blew in the north wall. They took cover on the floor until the storm had passed.

Weather experts say the storm was something called a "microburst," intense straight-line winds. A spinning tornado would have thrown debris in all directions, but the fallen trees at Lake Isabella told the story -- they fell largely in the same direction, northeast to southwest, the same direction the storm was moving.

After the storm, tree-clearing crews first concentrated on opening up blocked streets.

A weekend resident from Westland spent his vacation carving up one of several trees in his yard blown over the by the wind.

A crew from Bohn Tree Trimming of Weidman clears brush that damaged a home near Madrid and Barcelona in Lake Isabella.

Just imagine what it took to do this along the lakefront. (Top nine photos by Mark Ranzenberger; bottom photo courtesy Village of Lake Isabella)


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