By Judy Reed
Sheets of rain blew sideways, trees were toppled, fires started and quarter-size hail pelted northern Kent County Sunday, August 10, as a storm with “straight-line” winds blew through the area between 6:45 and 7:15 p.m. When it was all over, thousands were without power, and debris littered yards and roadways.
Storm damage could be seen all across the area. On 16 Mile Road, just west of Northland Drive, a huge tree was pulled up out of the ground by the roots. On White Creek near Indian Lakes, there was a report of two trees down causing at least two accidents, and several large trees down on 17 Mile as well.
Someone reported on WZZM13.com that he and his wife were just turning west on to 17 Mile from Algoma when they had to pull over. “(We) couldn’t see anything but the hood of our cars so we stopped on the shoulder of the road. When the worst of it hit, we had hail the size of marbles, very heavy rain, and winds so strong that my full size 3/4 ton truck was not only rocking but the front end was starting to lift up. When it passed all we saw were trees and power lines down on 17 mile,” he said.
According to the National Weather Service, the worst damage in Kent County occurred in Kent City and Sparta, with winds up to 70 mph. Winds of 60-65 mph were reported in the Cedar Springs area.
The city of Cedar Springs also had its share of downed trees and power lines. The intersection of Maple and Park Street was closed for a couple of days after a large Maple tree blew over, along with top of a big Pine tree. “It busted two power poles that had to be replaced,” said Department of Public Works superintendent Jerry Hall.
The Cedar Springs DPW will be chipping brush this week in response to Sunday’s storm. Please stack all brush with the cut end facing the street (up to 6″ in diameter). No vines, stumps or roots will be chipped.
Some motorists noticed a problem with water pooling on the newly redone portion of S. Main Street during the storm. According to Hall, it was because there are still silt bags in the storm drains. “They have to stay there until grass along side the road grows. They catch the sand and dirt that gets washed down there and that causes it to drain slow,” he explained. Hall said that the tidal waves of water blown up alongside the road by cars washed a lot of seed and dirt down, and now they will have to reseed there.
Consumers Energy and Charter Communications crews were out in force following Sunday night’s storm. Consumers Energy reported that 48,000 of its customers were without power at one point, with 16,000 of them in Kent County. Most customers were back up and running by late Tuesday evening.