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Weekend storms classified as derechos

By Judy Reed

The early Saturday morning storms that caused residents to lose power for as many as four days, have officially been classified as derechos by NOAA and Storm Prediction Center, according to Fox 17 meteorologist Kevin Craig. 

A derecho is a long-lived windstorm with winds of 58 mph minimum, and usually more.  The one we just have swept across five states. Wind gusts of 60-70 mph were measured as the line went through Muskegon, Ottawa, and Kent counties. The hardest hit area was near Jenison, MI where an NWS Damage Survey determined peak wind gusts broached 80 mph in a microburst. 

The most recent derecho before this was on May 31, 1998 when straight line winds swept across the area, taking down trees everywhere.

The storms on July 19-20 occurred on the hottest days of the summer, when the heat index was in the 100s, and left more than 220,000 people without power, according to Consumers Energy. The hardest hit areas were in Kent County, where over 50,000 lost power. There were also 2,800 downed wires. CE called for help from out of state to get the power back up and running. 

They also went to various areas in Kent County to provide free ice, bottled water, and free ice cream bars. They were in Cedar Springs, at the American Legion, on Monday, July 22 from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. By about 3 p.m., hundreds of people had already stopped in to pick up the free water, ice, and ice cream. 

“I am beyond grateful that they did this. We are now on day 4 with no real power just a generator to run our fridge and fan,” Shauna Smith-Grindle posted on our Facebook page. “Continuing to be as patient as we can knowing they are working around the clock. Thank you to the amazing team they had out yesterday packing vehicles with ice and water and ice cream. God bless you all.”

Saturday morning, July 20, showed trees and limbs down all across the area. A woman who lives in the four-plex at Second and Beech Street said she heard the storm come up and walked out on to her porch. She watched as a huge tree in the yard came tumbling down. We also received photos of trees down at Pine Lake and on Oak Street in Sand Lake. The sign at the corner of First and Oak Street for The Springs Church in Cedar Springs was blown over. There was also a report of the scoreboard at Skinner Field being damaged, but we haven’t confirmed that. 

The City is providing a special storm brush drop off at Morley Park this weekend where residents can bring their brush. Must show residency. See ad on page 13.

Many of the businesses on Main Street had generators after last winter’s ice storm, and power came back relatively quickly to that area. However, certain parts of the area, including the west side of town and areas out in Solon Township, did not receive their power back until Tuesday.


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