Residents of Rivershyre subdivision scurried around their neighborhood Tuesday trying to restore their community the morning after a storm wreaked havoc on homes and yards.
"All my neighbors came and helped me," said Diane Husein. A large uprooted oak tree fell onto her home on Rivershyre Drive.
Weather officials reported Tuesday that a microburst was the cause of severe weather that downed trees, cut power and caused property damage in several Evans neighborhoods Monday night.
Husein said the storm was scary.
"We had to hide in the closet, it was so bad. It was blowing really hard," she said,. Her husband, Ziad, and their three children were home during the storm.
Husein said she heard hail and saw the storm blowing trees around wildly. When the power went out, the family crowded into a downstairs closet to ride out the storm.
"We heard something hit really hard and it was this (tree) and we went upstairs," Husein said. "We didn't think anything really happened. We just thought the tree fell. But then all the water was raining through my bedroom and through my family room."
Husein said her husband headed to Wal-Mart on Monday night to buy tarps to protect the home overnight, while she used flashlights to flag down neighbors to help.
Mike Amerson, a Rivershyre resident and the owner of Amerson Construction Co., not only stopped to help the Huseins but also used a backhoe to help clear the streets soon after the microburst.
"I was pushing trees out of the road so the fire trucks could get in," Amerson said Tuesday before using a crane to pull the large oak tree off the home. The tree broke the main roof beams and rafters and left a 20-foot hole in the roof, Amerson said. The Huseins among the hardest hit by the storm.
"He was out there in no time flat," Pam Tucker, Columbia County's Emergency Services director, said about Amerson.
The thunder-storms caused slight damage and downed trees throughout the county, but the worst damage was in the roughly two-mile radius of the Rivershyre subdivision off Hardy McManus Road, Tucker said.
A number of trees were uprooted or pushed over by the winds, and many homes were damaged, but no injuries were reported.
Tucker, herself a Rivershyre resident, was among those with damage from the storm.
A large oak tree was uprooted in her backyard, crushing a fence and a storage building. Like many other residents, she said that during the worst of the storm she looked outside and saw only white, caused by the high winds blowing rain sideways.
"You know when you looked out that this was not normal," she said. "The whole landscape is different without these trees. The whole neighborhood is going to look different."
Tucker said that until about 11 p.m., she saw people walking or slowly driving on the debris-strewn streets of the neighborhood asking whether anyone needed help.
The storm caused leaks in Donna Sanger's roof and shattered an outdoor glass table. Her landscape lights were broken by a trampoline that was blown in from a neighbor's yard.
Sanger was outside Tuesday morning cleaning up the leaf debris from her yard. She said the storm damage appeared much worse in the morning sunlight.
"It looks like a war zone," she said.
Richard Huskin's yard also had changed. All that was left of his 70- to 100-foot-tall oak was a 20-foot stump.
The top of the tree snapped off, hit the ground, then fell against his roof, creating several holes and shattering a window.
Thirty seconds before the tree fell, Huskin said, he moved from a seat to close his garage door.
"That was good, because I came back and there was big pieces of glass in my seat," he said.
Huskin said several companies and neighbors helped out in the cleanup at his home.
"A bunch of my neighbors all come over last night," he said Tuesday. "The neighborhood was up on my roof and they were doing all they could. We had a yard full of people that were helping."
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