About 1,000 residents north of La Pine lost power Tuesday afternoon during a brief but powerful thunderstorm. On Wednesday, residents and utility companies cleaned up and repaired damage.
Central Oregon Daily News checked with the National Weather Service for an explanation of the weather event that pounded the area.
“It was crazy. About 4:30 it started dumping rain. The most rain I’ve ever seen,” Morgan Tuttle. “I came down to the garage to see if he’d noticed what was going on. That’s when we saw the big dark shadow which was this tree falling down in front of our house.”
“We ran out the front door to check to see if the truck was okay. It missed the truck by inches. We couldn’t stay outside, it was raining so hard. It was like we jumped into a pool for two seconds.”
Jay Tuttle said Tuesday’s storm reminded him of tropical storms and hurricanes he lived through in South Carolina.
“It was severe damage. It wasn’t just a typical storm,” said Jim Anderson, CEO and general manager of Mid State Electric Cooperative. “This storm that came through toppled power poles, took trees into homes and knocked out major spans of wire throughout our territory on the northern end.”
Midstate Electric crews worked overnight restoring power in an area about five miles long near the Little Deschutes River north of La Pine.
“Generally what we see with a storm that is intensifying and then weakening, is that you get the core of that storm to push down with some pretty strong winds,” said Colby Goatley, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Pendleton. “Based on the evidence I’ve seen so far that would be my guess, that the storm was going up and down and just happened to do that near the La Pine area.”
Goatley reviewed the radar track and the videos and descriptions Central Oregon Daily News sent him and concluded it was a severe thunderstorm with winds between 60 and 70 mph.
“That’s what I expect from a storm during the middle of summer around here. There’s nothing absolutely out of line for it. It’s just incredibly isolated,” Goatley said.
Midstate Electric estimates more than $200,000 in damage to power lines, power poles and electric equipment.
“Thankfully our neighbors came over here and helped us because all of our cars were blocked in,” Morgan Tuttle said.
“There’s still some branches up on the roof. The tree ripped some lighting off the house, punctured the siding and dented the garage door. We’ve got some work to do,” Jay Tuttle said.