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Storm surge sends area in a tizzy

| July 6, 2007 12:00 AM

One man flown to Kalispell after struck by fallen tree

By ERIKA KIRSCH Western News Editor

It was approximately 7 p.m. on Friday when Delores and George Lynn witnessed their roof being ripped from the top of their double wide trailer home in Troy.

A microburst caused high winds throughout the Lincoln County area, not only ripping off roofs and sending trees through them but also causing one man to be flown to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for injuries sustained when a tree fell on him.

The concentration of weather and damage was west and northwest of Libby near the Cedar Creek and Rawlings Tract area, according to Lincoln County Sheriff's Lt. Roby Bowe. A large amount of damage occurred in Troy.

Following the short-lived but highly destructive storm, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office received an emergency call from a female who's fiance had been struck by a tree during the storm. The couple were on the Cedar Creek Trail in the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness Area when the top of a large tree fell on the man and broke his arm and leg, Bowe said.

David Thompson Search & Rescue and Libby Volunteer Ambulance members responded to the scene and located the 37-year-old male patient. He was approximately 4 1/2 miles up the trail. The road and trail to access the man were consumed by fallen trees and debris from the storm. Rescue crew members had difficulty reaching the man and needed a chainsaw to clear the path from the scene to the ambulance.

The man was transported by ambulance to St. John's Lutheran Hospital and was then flown by Alert to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for severe injuries to his upper right arm and lower left leg.

According to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Missoula, several trees were reported down and power poles snapped on the O'Brien Road behind the Kootenai River Campground. Wind gusts were estimated to be 70-75 miles per hour. In Yaak, it was reported that trees were bending at 45 degree angles, according to the forecast office.

Power was lost in the area, Bowe explained, but power was quickly restored.

Marilyn and Fred McDougall's home at 124 Hwy 2 West sustained the felling of five trees.

"The trees were over 100 years old," Marilyn said.

Luckily the McDougall's were not home at the time, however their dogs, a horse and a cat were home. There were no injuries from the incident, Marilyn added. Trees fell on their home's front and back porches and their carport, she said.

"We need a whole new roof and trusses," Marilyn explained. "We need a new deck too."

Several friends and family members came out to help in the cleanup efforts Saturday.

"It was amazing the amount of people who came. If this was anywhere else I still wouldn't have power for a month," she said. "No one could believe what God had done."

Delores and George Lynn were still waiting for their repairs to be complete. They were both home at the time of the storm. There was also a teenage girl in the home at the time and she was knocked off her bed during the onslaught of wind. No one was hurt during the upheavel, Delores said.

Their roof was ripped completely off the trailer home and landed in the front yard, she said. Crews were working to repair the roof on Tuesday.