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Some areas still without power day after tornadoes hit

June 18, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE and LISA GRAYBEALs
(Page 2 of 2)

Trees fell on top of both dugouts at the West End Little League off U.S. 40.

Several houses in the 1100-block of Beechwood Drive were damaged by falling trees.

Piles of tree limbs lined the street Wednesday.

"Everywhere you look, you hear chain saws running," said Steve Ryan of Hagerstown City Light Department, who was working to restore power there.

"This is the type of weather that isn't supposed to happen here," said John Creager, 52, cleaning up damage on Beechwood Drive.

Watson said it is a myth that the mountains protect the area from tornadoes. The weather service has documented tornadoes that have crossed the 10,000-foot Rockies, she said.

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Trees fell in Rest Haven Cemetery along Pennsylvania Avenue, said Eric Brown, the owner's son, as he sawed fallen trees.

One tree by a stream in the cemetery uprooted the stream bank when it fell.

"Give us a week or two and you won't notice anything happened," Brown said.

Hagerstown Business College was closed Wednesday because of tree damage and downed wires.

"This looks like a doggone war zone," said Jim Gifford, college president.

Gifford said 125 to 150 students were in class when the storm hit and were led into the main building's hallway until the storm passed. The college has no basement.

Neighbors helped clear the road by dragging fallen trees away with their pickup trucks, Gifford said. Classes were expected to resume today after power is restored, he said.

Several trees that stood as high as 100 feet around the campus and Mason-Dixon Council, Boy Scouts of America, off Crestwood Drive, were snapped like toothpicks. There were several near misses and the road to the Boy Scouts headquarters was closed, but no buildings appeared hard hit.

Fountainhead Golf Course Superintendent Ken Keller said it will take at least two weeks to clean up all the downed trees there.

The storm grazed the southern portion of Franklin County, but only minor damage was reported in Waynesboro, Pa.

Even areas that escaped the tornado saw damage from high winds and flash flooding from the 1 1/4 inches of rain that fell in 40 minutes.

An average of eight or nine tornadoes hit Maryland every year, with the peak months being June and July, Watson said.

The last tornado to hit Washington County occurred July 19, 1996, in Yarrowsburg, she said.

- Staff Writers Don Aines, Clyde Ford, and Julie E. Greene contributed to this story.

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