Storm wallops Oceana County.

August 29, 2018

Storm wallops Oceana County.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

OCEANA COUNTY — They say that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but Oceana County was blasted by thunderstorms three consecutive nights. And, the third storm system Tuesday night, Aug. 28, was a doozy.

The violent storm knocked down trees and power lines all over Oceana County. Many residents are without power and may not have it restored until Friday, Aug. 31.

The Mason-Oceana 911 dispatch center was flooded with emergency calls. “We had 600 calls over the course of three hours,” said Director Ray Hasil. In comparison, the dispatch center has about 250 calls over a 24-hour period on a busy summer day, Hasil said.

The 911 center had such a large volume of calls, that some of them were being “bounced” to Newaygo County, Hasil said. “That was a first for us.”

At one point, there were 200 calls in queue which had not been dispatched yet, he said.

Several boats docked in Silver Lake were overturned by raging winds and waves, and Pentwater was battered with downed trees and power lines.

The 911 center, which is located near Pentwater, was still operating on generators as it, too, lost power due to the damaging storm.

“There are lines and trees down everywhere,” Hasil said.

In the two-county area, there were at least three instances of people trapped in their cars with wires over their vehicles, Hasil said.

There was one person in the Scottville area who was struck by falling debris while riding his bicycle, Hasil said. Fortunately, the cyclist sustained only minor injuries.

No one died or was seriously injured during the storm.

Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast said several roads remain closed throughout the county due to fallen trees and power lines.

“Our guys were busy all night long,” Mast said. The sheriff’s office had extra forces out in the dangerous elements, assisting motorists and other agencies, he said. Several community members stepped in and helped as well.

“The Oceana County Road commission is working hard with Consumer’s Energy,” said Oceana County Emergency Management Coordinator James Duram of the clean-up efforts.

Duram said he has not seen a storm of this magnitude since the straight line wind storm in the spring of 1998 that caused major devastation in West Michigan. “The storm front had eight or nine rotations before it hit shore,” he said. “I had never seen this before.”

At the Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater, there was minimal damage in the campground. However, a large tree fell on the supply trailer for the concession stand at the beach, said Lead Worker Chris Bush. The trailer was extensively damaged. Employees from other state parks were called in to assist at Charles Mears.

“We’re getting downed trees and branches cleared and getting things safe for our visitors,” Bush said.

“A good storm like this brings out the best in public safety and the community,” said Hasil. “Everyone is working together and keeping their cool.”

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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