Archive for Thursday, August 25, 2005

Friday night art walk disrupted by storm

August 25, 2005

Friday's storm was basically one big whoosh of wind, but it certainly sent people scattering ... and the Johnson's barn east of town, too.

It started as an artful evening, the Baldwin Community Arts Council's monthly Art Walk in downtown Baldwin, but quickly moved to more dodger as the crowd ducked for cover shortly before 9 p.m. That's when the gust of wind, followed by torrential rain came.

But, none of the Art Walk crowd could hold a candle to Don and Sandy Johnson. They had been downtown for the art and music, but headed home shortly after 10 p.m. to find some real damage.

"We weren't home," said Sandy Johnson. "We got back about 10 after 10. We couldn't get down the road and I said 'what's that white stuff on the road?' It was our barn."

The roof of the Johnson's hay barn, which is white, was ripped off by the wind and scattered for hundreds of yards.

"I'm glad we weren't here," said Johnson. "It must have been a terrible noise. It sure could have been worse.

"I don't know if it was a gust of wind or a micro burst and probably never will," she said.

The twisted metal of the roof stayed to the west of the house and didn't cause any damage to it. The Johnsons live on North 250 Road, about a mile east of U.S. Highway 56 near Heritage Tractor.

While there wasn't that kind of damage elsewhere, the weather certainly dispersed the Art Walk gathering, which included numerous artists displaying their wares, games for the kids and the band "Route 56" for music.

"Everybody scattered like rats from a sinking ship," said Ann Pearson, a member of the BCAC board who was listening to Route 56. "It was weird."

Although the initial blast of wind did take its toll on numerous branches around town, there were no major problems, according to Police Chief Mike McKenna.

"We were out on patrol," said McKenna. "I came out after the storm. There were the normal limbs down, but no serious damage that we're aware of."

There was a brief power outage, too. Baldwin residents were without power for 20 to 30 minutes. The cause of the outage was unknown.

There wasn't any major damage at Baker University, either, according to Steve Rottinghaus, BU spokesman. There were a few tree limbs down and students already on campus ahead of the start of classes got their first taste of Baldwin without power.

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