Sliver of Greencastle-Antrim slammed by storm

Shawn Hardy
An uprooted tree rested across the front yard of Bob and Trish Laughlin on Williamson Road after Thursday’s brief, intense storm.

Bob Laughlin of 505 Williamson Road called early Thursday afternoon “pretty traumatic.” His neighbor, Bob Chaney, thought a truck hit his house and said, “It certainly was an eventful day.”

Severe weather was in the forecast and while most of the area just saw heavy rain, a small area of Greencastle and Antrim Township was slammed by high winds.

Trees and branches were downed, garbage cans thrown asunder, basketball hoops toppled and yard ornaments scattered along Williamson Avenue and Williamson Road from U.S. 11 to Craig Road. The sign for Baumgardner Drive was ripped off and upside down in a nearby yard.

The only call to the Franklin County Department of Emergency Services was for trees and wires down at 328 Williamson Ave. at 12:41 p.m.

“We’ve been watching storms this afternoon, but this is the first report of damage,” Bill Gartner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said when contacted by the Echo Pilot.

“We heard a gust and it sounded like the house was coming down,” said Laughlin, who told his wife, Trish to head to the basement.

“I never heard such a roar. The whole house shook,” said Chaney, who lives at 553 Williamson Road. The sound last just a few seconds, but Chaney said it was “a low rumble and just kept getting louder. It sounded like a construction dump truck carrying cement.”

Chaney’s cat, Charlie, jumped on his lap and “his tail was as big as a coffee cup. He was scared.”

After the winds subsided, Laughlin was out in the rain assessing damage, which includes a large tree down in the front year, a smashed windshield with water and glass in his truck and shingles ripped off both sides of the house.

Laughlin’s neighbor, Sam Plank, said the storm felt like a little tornado. It split a Bradford pear tree in his front yard and threw dirt on his house.

Damage at the Chaney property included two greenhouse doors, the ridge vent and siding. There are black shingles all over the yard that aren’t from his house. He figures they went airborne from Colonial Drive.

Antrim Township Administrator Brad Graham went out after the storm and agreed most of the damage was along Williamson Road and Williamson Avenue. He did see some broken limbs and trees down to the north on Shinham and Frank roads, but said, “it didn’t seem like it carried too far.”

Greencastle weather observer Robert Wertime measured 1.26 inches of precipitation with “extremely hard rain around the noon hour.”

Chaney said it hailed briefly at his house and “it was raining sideways.”