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A case of extremes

Strong winds tore through on Sunday leaving thousands without power. Still, it was a respite from the scorching temperatures expected this week.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:57 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008
Workers for Sellenriek Construction dig a hole for a new telephone pole and survey the damage on McBaine Avenue caused by high winds that swept through the area Sunday night. Part of the tree pictured above fell on the roof of the house and knocked out power in parts of the neighborhood.

Columbia-Sunday, it was the wind. Today, it will be the heat.

Wind gusts up to 70 mph Sunday night left 7,500 customers of Columbia Power & Light without power, as workers repaired downed power lines through the night. By Monday afternoon, all but six customers had power again. Meanwhile, Columbia Fire Department had responded to 49 calls for lines down, nine transformer fires and six calls for grass fires caused by arcing power lines.

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No injuries were reported, said James McNabb, Columbia’s director of joint communications.

The respite from 100-degree temperatures Monday was brief, though. The high today is expected to reach 103 degrees, and with the humidity, the heat index could hit 109 degrees. Officials encourage people to stay inside if at all possible and avoid the dangerously hot temperatures.

On Monday, Chris Ray was surveying the damage at College Avenue between Broadway and Walnut Street. The strong winds from Sunday night’s storm split the Y-shaped tree in his front yard, causing it to fall on a telephone line connected to his neighbor’s house. The tree’s weight pulled down a telephone pole on top of Ray’s Honda Civic.

“Our landlord told us when we signed the lease that they were going to remove the tree in our front yard soon,” Ray, 23, said. “So I guess now they don’t have to.”

Ray’s car was insured, and an adjuster is coming out today.

Despite the damage, Ray laughed about the situation with his roommates.

“If you look around. it doesn’t look like any other damage happened except right in front of our house,” Ray said.

McNabb called the storm “unremarkable,” noting the lack of injuries or traffic accidents.

Gary Warren, Columbia Fire Department battalion chief, said the department did see an increase in calls.

“The spike in call volume was directly related to the storm but pretty typical for extreme weather,” he said.

Jim Kramper of the National Weather Service in St. Louis said the complex of storms formed in eastern Nebraska and moved into Missouri around 11 p.m. Sunday. A few gusts were as high as 70 mph, according to the weather service.

Roger Cody, who lives off Blue Ridge Road, had only one casualty: a screen coming off a window.

“I heard the screen rattling last night and saw the trees dancing, but the heavy hail damage last year was much worse,” he said.

Sunday’s storm continued through Missouri before moving southeast into Kentucky and southern Illinois, Kramper said. Central Missouri’s next chance of rain isn’t until Saturday, according to the weather service.


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