Trees fall as storm passes through area
The storm blamed for the fatal sinking of a “Ride the Ducks” Duck Boat on Table Rock Lake in Branson Thursday evening moved eastward, blowing a path through parts of Ozark County as well. At least four large Gainesville-area trees were blown down by the high winds, and one of them landed on a vehicle.
A few blocks from the Gainesville square, Ozark County Clerk Brian Wise was outside on the patio on the east side of his house, binding down an awning as the storm approached from the west. “I heard the ‘crack, whoosh, boom’ and ran around to see what had happened,” Wise said Monday.
The noise had come as a tall tree fell on his Jeep parked in the driveway, pinning utility lines between the tree trunk and the roof of the vehicle – and coming dangerously close to the southwest corner of the Wise home, where his wife, Genette, and his sons were inside at the time. “It was way too close for comfort,” Wise said. He’s checking to see if the Jeep can be repaired.
A little further east, near the city limit sign on Highway 160, two more big trees fell – one on property owned by Art Turner near his business, Gainesville Auto Repair, and the other in a nearby field owned by his mother, Dorothy Turner. Neither tree caused damage as it fell.
A mile or so farther east, at Highway 160 and County Road 306, a giant oak fell, narrowly missing a barn at the home of Darrell and Mable Owens, who had bought the property in December from Mason and Misti Eslinger.
“We didn’t hear it,” Mabel told the Times Monday. “We had been outside under the carport watching the trees blow in the wind – and hoping they were healthy. There are a couple of big ones in front and a couple in back. We love the trees and the shade they give us.”
They went back inside, and then Darrell stepped outside again in a few minutes. “He came in and said, ‘You’ve got to come and see this.’ That big tree had fallen,” Mable said.
Fortunately, the tree fell in precisely the right spot to miss both the nearby barn, which had been rebuilt a few years ago by Mason Eslinger’s parents, Leon and Debbie Eslinger, the fence separating the pasture from the Owenses’ yard, and also the Owenses’ house. “The roots, where they came up out of the ground, were really close to the fence – about 4 inches from touching it,” Mable said. “I’m shocked that it didn’t cause any damage.”
They had had some dozer work done to clean up the pasture soon after they moved from Willow Springs, where they had operated a large farm until Darrell was slowed by a stroke. Now there will be more clean-up work to do. They’ve already made arrangements with a family friend who said he will cut up the tree for firewood.
“But I imagine it’ll be cooler weather before he starts that,” Mable said with a laugh.
The Ozark County Commissioners said Monday at their regular meeting that they had heard of some other trees falling in recent storms. This week’s Sheriff’s Report (page 8), reveals a “large tree across road” on County Road 107 Thursday night, and a power outage was reported on County Road 122 in the Romance area.