Storm damages property, area crops
July 8, 2007
MALIN Farmers are looking at total losses of potato, alfalfa
and strawberry crops while others are removing trees and repairing
irrigation systems after a Friday night thunderstorm.
Damage from the microburst, which began in southern Siskiyou
County and swept through Butte Valley, Klamath Falls, Malin,
Bonanza and Sprague River, is still being assessed.
The storm cut off electricity to thousands of customers in
Klamath, Siskiyou and Modoc counties. Crews from Pacific Power
were called out Friday night, and worked virtually non-stop
through Saturday. The utility hoped to have power restored to all
users by Saturday night.
At its peak, Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gauntt said more than
6,500 users in the Klamath Basin, from Butte Valley to Klamath
Falls to Alturas, were without power. Along Highway 50 between
Merrill and Malin, more than 13 power poles were toppled, forcing
a highway closure.
Winds up to 55 mph were measured by the National Weather Service’s
Medford office with more than 3,000 lightning strikes reported.
Heavy rain, hail and winds that funneled through some areas were
blamed for crop damage.
National Weather Service spokesmen said the storm peaked in Butte
Valley, tapered off in Klamath Falls, then rekindled in the
Bonanza-Malin areas before finally dissolving past Sprague River.
Meteorologist Mike Johnson said weather spotters reported serious
damage to Butte Valley strawberry fields.
For those in the storm’s path, the storm was frightening.
“I thought it was going to cut my house in half,” said Dick
Hudson, who lives in the Yonna Valley area. Hudson said Peter
Steiner Road was heavily damaged with drainage ditches along the
road filled with mud. He also reported heavy damage to strawberry
Hail, heavy rain
In the Malin area, several farmers suffered crop losses.
“Everything was underwater. It flat blew hard,” said Cory Turner,
who said quarter-sized hail was followed by heavy rains that left
standing water nearly a foot deep in some alfalfa fields. “I
stayed up all night pumping the field off.”
Turner said the roll-up door at his garage was blown in, the roof
at his home “was about blown off” and irrigation pipes were tossed
across fields and highways. People driving along Micka Road saw
sections of the road lined with wheel lines.
“It’s not all lost, but all those hay fields are lost. A lot of
guys’ potato fields are gone,” Turner said.
Several alfalfa fields, where the crop had been more than 4 feet
tall, were sheered, as though cut by power mowers. Irrigation
lines were scattered and bent, with some wrapped around power
“My little boy was scared to death,” the 32-year-old Turner said,
noting he and his wife, Danielle, and their two sons, Zack, 4, and
Avery, 4 months, huddled in their house during the storm.
Down the road, Carol Suty spent the several hours wondering what
was happening outside.
“I’ve never seen such rain in my life,” said the 80-year-old Suty,
who has lived in the family home since 1960. “It was scary. It was
raining and blowing, not to mention the lightning and thunder.”
Friends and family were removing nine downed pine trees, some from
an old bunkhouse, outbuilding and her home.
“My, what a mess,” Suty said as she surveyed the damage, which
included only a small dent on her car.
Turner, who said he was only one of many who suffered losses,
plans to salvage what he can.
“There wasn’t anybody that didn’t get hurt,” he said of
neighboring farmers. “What’s next? Tear apart the wheel lines, fix
‘em and get on with it. That’s farming. That’s Mother Nature.”
Lightning is visible over the
Pacific Terrace neighborhood in
Wheel lines near
were tossed like pickup sticks. Some of Cory Turner’s
lines were wrapped around power poles, and others were
Carol Suty looks at a pine tree that landed atop a former
bunkhouse next to her Malin area home. At least nine trees
were scattered about her yard from Friday night’s storm.