Tornado rips through Cedar Grove; over a dozen buildings damaged or destroyed

ronPARK

staff writer

SURVEYING THE DAMAGE — Janette Singleton, her grandson Danny Hart, and her sister Becky Zurofski survey the damage done to Singleton’s home at 8490 Highway 70 in Cedar Grove.

“There was no warning or nothing,” said Cedar Grove resident Janette Singleton, whose mobile home and car were damaged in the confirmed tornado that tore its way through the Cedar Grove area during the evening of Wednesday, July 5.

According to Singleton, it was around 7 p.m., and she had just gotten up to get ready to go to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Huntingdon where she works the nightshift.

“I was listening to the weather, and they said that some severe weather was coming,” said Singleton, who lives at 8490 Highway 70 at the intersection of 70 and Flatbottom Road. “But they didn’t say anything about tornados.”

Looking outside, she noticed that the sky was getting black, and it was then she first noticed what she described as a “whistling sound.”

“It just got louder and louder,” she said. “Then the trees bent over double and stuff started flying around and hitting everywhere.”

DESTROYED — This mobile home on Flatbottom Road in Cedar Grove was completely destroyed by the July 5 tornado. Other homes in the same trailer park were either damaged or destroyed.

With nowhere else to run or take shelter, Singleton said she crouched down just inside the back door while limbs and other debris slammed against her singlewide mobile home.

“I saw a utility pole fly by the window, and then I heard a big crash in the living room,” she said. “And then it was over.”

As Singleton discovered, a large tree had fallen on her home, punching a hole in roof. When she went outside to look at the damage, she found that another large tree had fallen on her car.

“I’m glad I didn’t make a run for the car,” she said. “That tree would’ve got me.”

Singleton said she was thankful she wasn’t hurt or even killed, though she did express disgust at what the tornado did to her home and property.

According to Carroll County Emergency Management Agency Director Janice Newman, there were no reported injuries from the July 5 twister.

There was quite a bit of damage, however.

AFTER THE STORM — Richard and Caroline Brooks stand in their front yard less than a day after a tornado ripped the roof off their two-story home in Cedar Grove.

As Newman detailed, a total of 14 structures were either damaged or destroyed in the tornado’s path, which stretched for about a mile and a half.

Representatives from National Weather Service were out in the Cedar Grove area on Thursday, and gauging from the damage, they classified the tornado as an EF-1 event with winds up to 105 miles per hour.

The tornado was certainly powerful enough to rip the entire roof off the two-story home of Richard and Caroline Brooks about a half-mile down the road from Singleton’s residence on Highway 70.

According to the Brookses, they were on the first floor when the storm struck in a recently finished bedroom addition — which, as it turned out, was the part of the house least effected by the tornado.

As Mr. Brooks detailed, the lights went out shortly before they heard a loud crash.

“My wife said she thought the house had been hit by lightning,” said Mr. Brooks. “I got up to go see, and the roof was gone.”

NO ROOF — While the July 5 tornado tore the roof off the home of Richard and Caroline Brooks in Cedar Grove, some items seemed strangely undisturbed, such as the antique tea set display pictured in the far corner.

In the backyard, the Brookses found that the tornado had taken part of the roof off the barn and toppled a smokehouse that Mr. Brooks and his sons had built 40 years ago.

Two large trees were completely uprooted in the front yard, and items that the couple had kept on the second floor, many of them antiques or irreplaceable keepsakes, lay strewn all over the property and across adjoining fields.

Strangely, some items on the second floor — such as a display of antique tea sets — seemed almost undisturbed while everything around them had been either tossed around or broken.

While thankful that he and his wife were unharmed, Mr. Brooks said the devastation of their longtime home is a bitter pill to swallow.

“I’ve been working on this house about 42 years now to get it just the way she wanted it,” he said.

There were other homes damaged on Flatbottom Road, where part of the roof was ripped off the home of Angela and David Warren and several mobile homes were damaged and a couple completely destroyed in a small trailer park.

The tornado also resulted local power outages and damage to the electrical system.

According to Danny Brawner, general manager over the Carroll County Electric Department, three utility poles were knocked down and power lines were down in several places in that area.

Highway 70 had to be closed off for two or three hours that night and again for a while on Thursday as utility crews and county workers labored to clear fallen trees and power lines from the roadway and get power up and running.

About 250 customers were initially without power following the storm, said Brawner, though power was restored to most of these by around 1 a.m. Thursday morning.

On Friday Brawner said that electric service had been returned to all customers in that area, except for a few residences where the damage was too extensive.

Newman said that no tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service before the July 5 twister struck.

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