Close calls for some, broken branches for others |

Close calls for some, broken branches for others

Winds reach 44 mph in Craig on Tuesday night

Jerry Raehal

— In hindsight, Marlena O’Leary was glad she called her 9-year-old son, Riley, and a friend, 3-year-old Alec Tucker, to the front porch during a windstorm Tuesday evening.

Because seconds later, trees fell in the exact spot where the youths had been playing in the front yard at O’Leary’s residence, 858 E. 10th St.

“They were just a breath from being under those trees. : It was just sheer good fortune,” she said.

Three trees were knocked down at the household due to the windstorm, Marlena said, adding her son saw a microburst – which is defined as “a sudden, violent downdraft of air over a small area”- spinning over the sandrocks north of the house.

Tuesday’s winds reached 44 miles per hour in Craig and 47 miles per hour in Hayden, according to the National Weather Service.

While the damage was not as severe as the O’Leary’s house, many other Craig residents were out Wednesday morning picking up broken branches and trash spread by the gusts.

For those at the Balleck home at 746 Marland Ave., clean up meant retrieving the family’s 12-feet-tall, 26-feet-long and 6-feet-wide playground set from the neighbor’s yard.

The playground set, which Carol Balleck estimated weighed around 1,100 pounds, tore through the fence separating the two yards. The family had to use a Jeep truck to bring the playground back into its yard.

The wind “picked up the entire playground set and moved it into the backyard of the neighbor’s yard,” Balleck said. “It was like watching a movie in slow motion.”

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