Powerful storm lashes region

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Bill Brain was at home sitting through what seemed like a simple wind storm at 302 Maple St. Thursday night when everything suddenly turned green.

“It was a nice little wind storm, then all of a sudden the alarms started going off on the phones, and all of a sudden it went from just a little bit of wind to a lot of wind,” Brain described the sudden heavy rainstorm that kicked off at about 8 p.m.

“And the next thing you know, it’s just this white/green froth, that’s how I can describe it.”

For about an hour, heavy winds and rain downed trees and power lines throughout the Rome area and western Oneida County, officials said. The Brain household was one of several that sustained damage.

“The wind and the rain was mixing together, and I’m not sure if it was trees in the background or what, but everything just kind of turned green,” Brain described.

“Then the next thing you know: boom! A big pop.”

A large tree in Brain’s backyard split in half, with each half falling in a different direction. He described them as “probably the biggest trees you’ve seen in a long time.”

One half fell into a neighbor’s back yard, while the other half took out a corner of Brain’s brick house. Maple Street is located off North James Street, running alongside The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing.

“I have a whole corner of my house that’s gone. You can look up and see blue sky from the inside,” he said this morning. A contractor has since come through and put a tarp over the hole

“It took out the whole corner, the whole back corner.”

Also on Maple Street, fire officials said a woman fell and cut her knee while trying to escape the rain storm. She was hospitalized for the injury.

“A lot of electrical wires came down,” said Deputy Fire Chief Timothy W. Reilly this morning.

The Rome Fire Department responded to about 15 calls during the 8 o’clock hour, when the heaviest storm passed through. Reilly said there were a lot of trees and electrical wires felled in all corners of the city, from Coleman Mills Road to Link Road and back again.

“It was all over. There was no real concentration,” Reilly stated.

Fire departments in Lee, Floyd, Boonville, Camden and more had multiple calls for trees and wires down, according to the county 9-1-1 records .The eastern part of the county was largely unscathed.

Meteorologist Bryan Greenblatt, from the National Weather Service in Binghamton, said the sudden 8 p.m. storm was a result of the sun mixing with the cooler temperatures left over from earlier rainstorms in the day on Thursday.

“It’s basically a difference in temperature between the surface and higher up in the atmosphere,” Greenblatt explained.

Heavy clouds during most of the day Thursday kept the area cooler, but when the sun came out in the afternoon, that started warming up the surface, which clashed with the cooler cloud cover.

Greenblatt said to expect a chance of more showers or thunderstorms on Saturday, while the Memorial Day holiday should be sunny.

“Monday does look pretty nice out,” Greenblatt said about his forecast.

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