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Storm unleashes fury near Saluda

by Tom Chillemi

Powerful winds blew down this highway sign at the intersection of Route 17 Bypass and Route 17 Business (near Food Lion) on Thursday, August 7. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

Just after dark on Thursday, August 7, nature unleashed its fury and cut a swath of destruction in the Saluda area.

The violent storm blew in from the west and flattened a highway sign near Food Lion. On Wood Drive it toppled trees and scattered debris. It tore the awning from China Spring Restaurant and upended a large construction office trailer next to Urbanna Builders’ Supply. Further east, a pane of glass was blown out of a window at a residence near Cooks Corner.

Roy Montminy of Wood Drive could hear debris hitting the side of his house. “I looked outside and the trees were taking a beating.” A large pine tree in his yard snapped off about 12 feet above ground. When it fell it took down a big oak tree.

“It was raining sideways,” said Wood Drive resident John Page. “It seemed like the wind was blowing as hard as a hurricane. The wet leaves stuck to the side of the garage.”

The damage may have been worse if the wind’s force had not been slowed by a patch of woods that lines Wood Drive. The near hurricane-force winds broke apart a giant willow oak tree (see related story).

A tree landed on the lower (neutral) power line, but residents did not lose power.

Wood Drive residents used chainsaws that night to clear their private road that was littered with limbs for about 200 yards.

Hurricane season is now at its peak and area residents are reminded to be prepared. For more details on how to prepare, visit or

posted 08.18.2008

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