Clean up continues in Franklin County following Monday's storms

Two grain bins at the Geneva elevator sustained heavy damage Monday when streamline winds lifted one bin from its foundation and smashed it into the other.

 

            Trees, buildings and power lines throughout Franklin County sustained heavy damage during a barrage of severe weather that sent many local residents to their basements Monday night.

            Warning sirens in Hampton were sounded as the storm approached around 7 p.m. High winds, pounding rain and hail followed shortly thereafter as the storm progressed eastward. Streamline winds caused the majority of local damage, but continued precipitation throughout the week led to flash floods and washed out roads Tuesday and Wednesday.

            Franklin County Emergency Management Coordinator Thomas Craighton estimated county-wide damage at $1 million late Wednesday afternoon. He is currently preparing a report for the National Weather Service, who will then analyze the information and determine if any of the damage was caused by tornadoes.

            "Right now, they're just saying streamlined winds. But some of the damage is bad enough to where I can't rule out a tornado," Craighton said.

            Geneva was one of the hardest hit towns in Franklin County. The smell of fresh-cut pine hung thick in the air on Tuesday morning as residents worked fervishly to clear the felled trees and branches that littered nearly every yard in town.

            Two trees at the ball diamond were blown over during the storm and completely demolished a power line, bench and fence when they landed. Power line technicians and tree trimmers were busy at nearly every street in town working to cut dangling limbs and fix damaged lines to restore electricity Tuesday.

            Two grain bins at Innovative Ag’s Geneva location sustained heavy damage during the storm. The first bin, which was empty, was uprooted by the extreme winds and smashed into the second one, which was only partially full. The uprooted bin was peeled off on Tuesday, and workers started emptying the contents of the second bin Wednesday morning.

            The total cost of the damage was unknown.

            “I have no idea yet. The insurance company is still working on that,” said John Conlon, regional manager at Innovative Ag. “It’s not what I had planned on, but then again you never plan these things.”

            Very few towns were spared Monday. Hampton had numerous trees and branches down throughout the city, and residents spent much of the day Tuesday and some on Wednesday picking up after the storm.

            It appeared damage at Latimer and Coulter was significantly less than at other towns, but they weren’t completely unscathed. One tree at the Latimer Manor blew over and came to a rest on top of the apartment complex's roof.

            Teresa Barker was inside her apartment when the tree fell.

            “I heard a crack and could hear it coming. I saw the branches and ran to the other side of the apartment,” she said.

            The tree didn’t break through the roof, but the ordeal left Barker shaken.

            “I was scared,” she said. “I really did think it was going to come through.”

            The winds passed, but problems were still evident by midweek. Many fields were flooded and some roads were left impassable Wednesday after streams and waterways spilled over the road. The problems will most likely continue, as rain is forecasted for Wednesday night and Thursday.

            Look for more coverage in the June 25 edition of the Hampton Chronicle.

            This article was updated on Wednesday at 6:52 p.m., to include information from Thomas Craighton.