Windstorm wreaks havoc

By Jayson Jacoby December 17, 2012 10:58 am

S. John Collins/Baker City Herald A birch tree behind the house at the corner of Campbell and Third streets toppled over onto the rental home of David Wroe and Kecia Davis about 6 a.m. Monday. The fallen tree was one of several wind-caused incidents in Baker City.
S. John Collins/Baker City Herald A birch tree behind the house at the corner of Campbell and Third streets toppled over onto the rental home of David Wroe and Kecia Davis about 6 a.m. Monday. The fallen tree was one of several wind-caused incidents in Baker City.
By Jayson Jacoby and  Terri Harber

Baker City Herald

Wind gusts as high as 93 mph toppled trees and led to a widespread power outage in Baker City this morning.

No injuries were reported.

“The wind was really blowing,” Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner said this morning.

Although winds gusted throughout the night in advance of a cold front rushing onshore from the Pacific, the strongest winds came after the front passed around dawn.

The timing was actually fortuitous, Lohner said, because the police department was amid its normal shift change. This is when night shift workers are still on duty and the morning shift employees are just arriving to work, Lohner said. 

“There were multiple intersections with no lights,” he said. 

So there were as many people as possible out directing traffic, putting up temporary stop signs where traffic lights failed — which happened in multiple intersections. 

Workers were out removing any debris blocking the roads, Lohner said. 

Crews began dropping salt on streets at 3:30 a.m. today.

A telephone line fell across Seventh Street near where it meets D Street. That intersection was still closed at 10 a.m., according to the city.

The Baker School District reported that the buses arrived at their respective campuses on time this morning in spite of the blustery weather, Superintendent Walt Wegener said.

Although the strongest gust measured at the Baker City Airport was 37 mph, Amos Rasmussen, who lives at Western Heights about two miles west of town, said his anemometer recorded a gust of 93 mph at 6:56 a.m. today.

That’s the fastest wind he’s recorded in the 25 years he’s lived there.