Worst of storms skirt Tri-Cities

Spring Lake varsity girls basketball coach Rich Hyde said his team was probably in the best place they could be when the second round of storms swept through Holland on Monday morning. The Spring Lake High School varsity and junior varsity squads were participating in a camp on the Hope College campus. The JV players had just come in to DeVos Fieldhouse when the high winds hit the area, uprooting and topping off many trees in the area. Hyde said everybody was safe at the time.
Becky Vargo
Jul 12, 2011

 

Spring Lake varsity girls had to stop playing their game when water started leaking down the rafters and puddling on the floor.

“The power went off for about 10 seconds, but came right back on again,” Hyde said. “We never did get to finish the game because they were cleaning up the floor.”

It wasn’t until the players were heading to lunch around 11:45 a.m. when they realized just how bad things had been.

“Right outside the door, in the park across the way, there were several trees down and uprooted,” Hyde said. “Every block we passed had two or three trees uprooted.”

Hyde said it was amazing.

“We didn’t really experience anything but the hard rain,” he said.

Hope College Public Relations Officer Tom Renner verified that there were no storm-related injuries on the campus. Even though there were a lot of summer camps going on, everyone was able to get to safety, he said.

“It was amazing,” Renner said. “We were in the office (and) it got so dark (outside).”

He said it appeared that the winds changed as they raced across campus, uprooting trees on the west side and snapping off trees on the east side.

“Monetarily, not very much happened,” said Renner, as he explained that none of the trees fell on any buildings. “Sentimentally, a lot — because many, many of these century-old trees were toppled or uprooted.”

Renner said the rain was coming down sideways at times.

“It was entering through ways you couldn’t imagine,” he said.

Renner noted that there were a few buildings on campus that had buckets set out to catch drips.

Ottawa County Emergency Services and the American Red Cross also went into action after the storm Monday.

Emergency Services Director Beth Thomas said many trees were down with power lines tangled in them, and cautioned people to be very careful when coming across these trees.

Following the storm, several intersections in Holland and Park Township were closed, but most of the traffic lights are up. Pine Avenue in the city of Holland will still be closed today, Thomas said.

The American Red Cross was out Monday providing canteen services to first-responders, Thomas said.

The Red Cross also opened shelters Monday night in Holland and Grand Rapids for people with medical needs who required electricity. More information can be obtained by calling the Holland office at 616-396-6545 or the Grand Rapids office at 616-456-8661.

WZZM-TV meteorologist Aaron Ofseyer said it was straight-line winds as high as 80 mph that caused most of the damage — primarily in Holland, Muskegon and areas of Grand Rapids.

Three-quarter-inch hail was reported in the Twin Lake area of Muskegon County, while up to an inch of rain was reported in Allegan County and Comstock Park in Kent County, according to a release from the National Weather Service.

Minimal damage was reported in the Tri-Cities area, including a power outage in the Mark Street area in Spring Lake.

There was also a 15- to 20-minute outage in parts of Ferrysburg, from M-104 up to the Smith’s Bridge area and to the west.

Ferrysburg Public Works Director George Dunning said the City Hall and Public Works buildings were without power for a short time. A crew from the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power cleared a tree that fell on a line on North Shore Drive. Dunning said he was not aware of any other problems in the city.

 

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