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High winds topple trees, cause power outages

by CJ Carnacchio

April 24, 2013

High winds from a severe storm April 18 uprooted this large evergreen tree on Lincoln St. in the Village of Oxford. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.
April showers bring May flowers, but it looks like April winds bring fallen trees and power outages.

That was the result of a severe storm that blew through the Oxford/Addison area late Thursday (April 18) afternoon.

Winds gusting in the 50 and 60-mile-per-hour range brought down a number of trees, branches and electrical lines.

Following the storm, the DTE Energy website reported 1,731 customers without power in the 43871 Oxford zip code (including Oxford High School) and 311 outages in the 48367 Leonard zip code.

The 48370 zip code, which is geographically Addison Township, added another 129 outages, which increased to 169 by the next morning.

Oxford Fire Chief Pete Scholz reported there were two incidents involving trees making contact with electrical lines resulting in power outages and numerous fallen branches blocking roads.

"That was the extent of it," he said. "Nothing much at all. A lot of rain."

"We had probably about 10 to 12 trees down (on) the roads and some wires down," said Addison Fire Chief Jerry Morawski. "We had like three incidents where there were wires down."

The storm led to a close call for Oxford Village residents James and Trudy Smalley.

High winds uprooted a large evergreen tree on the property next door to the couple.

The concrete slabs that were above the tree's root system actually came up with it when it toppled over.

The tree, which James estimated to be 40 to 50 feet tall, fell onto the Smalleys' 9 Lincoln St. property, causing only minor damage to their home's exterior.

"It didn't break one window," Trudy said.

But it did make quite a mess in the driveway and backyard.

When asked what it sounded like when this large tree came down, Trudy, who was in the back bedroom at the time, replied, "I can't even describe it."

James, who was closing a window on the front porch when the storm hit, simply said, "Boom!"

Trudy, a 1964 graduate of Oxford High School, wasn't surprised at the tree's demise.

"We knew someday it was going to come down when the wind was strong enough but I was hoping it would go the other way," she said.

The tiny home next door to the Smalleys has been vacant for a while.

Trudy was extremely grateful the tree didn't seriously damage or destroy her home, not just because she lives there now, but because that's where she spent part of her childhood.

She moved into the house in 1954 at the age of 8. She moved back into the house with her husband in the late 1980s.

"This may sound weird, but I think my mom and dad were up in Heaven guiding this tree down, so it wouldn't destroy the house," said Trudy, who's maiden name is Donaldson. "I can hear my mother saying, 'It's not going to hit my house!'"