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Vermont Flooded; High Winds and Thunderstorms Ravage Midwest

August 6, 1989

Undated (AP) _ Flooding washed away a house, forced the evacuation of a trailer park and closed roads in Vermont on Saturday as thunderstorm winds up to 85 mph downed trees, power lines and telephone service in the Midwest.

Lightning killed an Ohio man north of Cincinnati, and a falling tree injured a child after a funnel cloud reportedly touched down briefly 25 miles southeast of Columbus, on Saturday night, authorities said.

In Wisconsin, the Coast Guard searched Lake Michigan for a stranded boat believed to have two people aboard. In Oklahoma, severe thunderstorms packing winds up to 70 mph tore the roofs off buildings in Bartlesville. No injuries were reported.

The storms appeared to be the remnants of Hurricane Chantal, which washed ashore in Texas last week, the National Weather Service said.

An overnight storm dumped up to 5 inches of rain on parts of central Vermont. Plainfield, 12 miles east of Montpelier, was the worst hit.

One home was washed away by the rising Great Brook.

Several stretches of road connecting Plainfield and the neighboring town of Orange remained flooded, state Rep. Peter Youngbaer said at an emergency town meeting.

″There are several families in there, who are isolated between washouts,″ he said. ″One of the priorities is to figure out a way to get emergency vehicles in there if they’re needed.″

Plainfield sits astride the confluence of the Great Brook and the Winooski River. Yards along the brook were 6 inches deep in silt and were strewn with debris, residents said.

At the River Run Trailer Park in Berlin, the Stevens Branch, another Winooski tributary, overflowed its banks. Dozens of residents were forced to flee waist-deep water, state police said.

The river receded by noon and residents returned to their homes.

Main Street in nearby Barre was 6 to 8 inches deep in water for a time, and several businesses’ basements were flooded. A car was seen up to its door handles in water.

Roads were washed out or closed by mudslides in East Montpelier, Northfield, Moretown and East Middlebury.

A musician at King’s Island amusement park north of Cincinnati was struck by lightning about 6 p.m. as he made his way to his car during a thunderstorm, said Bill Mefford, manager of marketing communications for King’s Island.

The victim, Thomas Cahall, 39, of Covington, Ky., was a member of a Dixieland band hired to entertain guests at the amusement park, Mefford said.

Another man, Dean Blosser of Urbana, was struck by lightning while in Columbus, fire officials said. Blosser was listed in extremely critical condition at St. Ann’s Hospital, hospital officials said.

A church in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Carthage was heavily damaged in a three-alarm fire that started as the thunderstorm began, and a portion of the roof of an apartment building in nearby Fort Mitchell, Ky., was blown off by high winds, officials said.

In Oakland, Ohio, residents reported a funnel cloud, said Fairfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Danner.

″We’ve got trees and power lines down virtually all over the place,″ Danner said.

The extent of the child’s injuries was not known.

In addition to the homes reported damaged by high winds, several fires, probably electrical, were reported, Danner said. None of the fires appeared to be serious.

In Iowa, severe thunderstorms packed winds up to 85 mph, pelting cities and farm fields with hail and leaving a trail of broken trees, damaged buildings and power outages that affected more than 15,000 customers.

In western Iowa, about two-thirds of an inch of rain were accompanied by winds that stripped leaves from corn stalks, blew down part of a barn and knocked down tree limbs near Little Sioux.

″Clouds came in rolling over each other, the sky turned black, the wind came up and the garbage cans took off,″ said Gina Duncan, a convenience store clerk in the central Iowa town of Boone.

Winds hit 75 mph in Wisconsin, where powerful thunderstorms knocked out electrical power to about 15,000 residents and stranded the boaters.

The overnight storms flooded many streets and caused problems on Lake Michigan.

The Coast Guard belives the missing 18-foot boat might have been blown out on the lake.

Winds as high 75 mph were reported in surburban Milwaukee on Friday night.

Thunderstorms and high winds did similar damage in Nebraska and Indiana.

Update hourly