Thursday, June 18, 1987

The Storm: A 29-Page Pictorial [NEWSPAPER]

NOTE: This blog was previously published in my youth, as part of a "newspaper" series on paper, but has been absorbed into my main blog for archival purposes. Click here for more information on this project, including abbreviations, notes, and help.

NOTES: All PHOTOS within can be found in higher resolution through the 2012 Blog Entry. *NOTE: "REDACTED" photos were lost from the original publication and may be recovered in the future.


TEXT TRANSCRIPT (not yet complete):

I saw the anvil-shaped thunderhead to the east. I hoped it would do the same
thing as last night and head south and turn back north and come over us.As I
rode down the lonely dirt read, I knew that a thunderstorm that far away could
not possibly hit us. It must have been 150 miles away.

Later that evening thunder rumbled to the south and I noticed particularly
dark clouds to the southeast. I knew(but will never assume again)that dark clouds
rarely brought heavy rain or severe weather. It was nearing 8:00p.m.and I
had had nothing to eat since about 3 in the afternoon so I grabbed a pack of
peanut clusters and sat down to watch "20 years on the Road With Charles Kuralt"
Soon , however, the wind and lightning got too wild for me to keep my seat on
the couch. At 8:25 it was pitch dark yet the sun was yet to set.

I heard Frank come galloping up the stairs. He had a flashlight and was
yelling , barely above the wind, I'm going to the workshop to close some windows!"

I stood at the door unaware of Kuralt's yacking in the background and
watched the trees outside. I had caught a gust of above 10 mph on my wind meter
but it was a handheld one and gusts in the trees I estimated were near 50 mph.
As I watched the Hickory trees sway and snap back and forth, I heard two con-
secutive snaps and saw the top of a small tree lean. Frank must have decided to
wait out the storm in the workshop building behind our house. I was racing from
door to door trying to catch sight of some hail and saw large dead limbs off an
oak tree fall in the yard. I also saw small branches and nuts ripped from trees
and dragged by the wind down to our deck. My mom was banging at the porch window
to be let in through the window and over the dining table to get inside.

I heard a very loud crack and a flash of lightning and thunder all hit at
once, and I was momentarily deafened.

"Something’s BURNING!!" I yelled. The rain was being blown in sheets into
the side of the house and branches and leaves were zooming by the widows. As
Sally clambered in the window, I had a faint image of a flashlight bobbing
up and down in the rain, which was beating up against the side of the house.

Sally was halfway in when Frank ripped open the front door.

"Are y'all alright?"

"We're fine but I smell something burning."

Frank continued on. It was about this time when I realized that the light- ning had struck the power off. As he spoke, Frank walked around nervously. "I think
that it struck the workshop . I felt some wood shavings hit me. Somethin' is
burnin'! I hope its not upstairs."

Meanwhile, Sally and I had gotten our flashlights.

"Everything is alright up there, Frank reported.

I was in the bathroom trying to find my flashlight when I shined Sally’s
up toward the site. It was about the same time when Frank came in.

"Oh my God! There’s a hole in the side of your studio, mom!!"


The Storm: A 29-Page Pictorial

The Down-Ere-Restaurant News $2.90 29pp No. 0000291 / June 18 '87 And so a hole was blown in the side of the shop. 5 people were slightly injured. Damage is not minor. The hole was about 5 by 5 feet, below Sally's studio window. It blew the screen of her window to the ground and scorched and twisted wood in a vicinity of 10 by 20 feet, shattered the storm window, broke the rafter, threw the header off the wall
[PHOTO] 5' by 5' hole shattered window, and torn siding [PHOTO] header found North 10 feet
and North 10 feet. Wood shavings and spliterings were found for hundreds of feet, the hall light and porch light in the house were shattered, the T.V. was blown up, the extension cord was burned in 7 pieces and the pump gauge was shattered. Apparently, lightning struck between the floors of the shop. This rattled the whole place, knocking bottles of poisonous liquids off their shelves,
[PHOTO][PHOTO] Wood splinterings in Jesse's and Sally's studio... [PHOTO] --snapped extension cord and in trees...
What was left of the porch light..., [PHOTO] the extension cord..., [PHOTO] and the porch light switch... [PHOTO]
glass and shattered wood [PHOTO] [PHOTO] screw drawers pulled out by the blast
pulling out screw drawers, knocking saw blades, tools, clamps and picture frames off the wall, covering the whole place with dust and, as F. Ferrell said, with smoke, knocking a 5' by 5' hole in the wall, another 1' by 1' hole near the roof and knocking a hole about this size in the roof. Keep in mind that all this happened in a fraction of a second. Paneling was thrown as far
[PHOTO][PHOTO] hole in roof | shattered "storm" window [PHOTO] piece of siding found on the south deck
in front of the chicken-house, but hundreds of pieces were scattered about the yard. Up stairs in the shop, thousands of wood splinters were sent everywhere into all the studios and one of them stuck to Frank's far studio window. There are millions of wood splinters (most in Jesse's studio) were scattered from corner to corner. One of the studs
[PHOTO] siding and branches behind the house [PHOTO]
from Sally's studio was found at the bottom of the staircase. Jesse Ferrell also found powder, insulation, wood shavings (and studs stuck into his files) in his studio. Downstairs, wood was thrown from corner to corner, excluding the guest room. The siding was torn away, the storm window shattered and closed, and the extension cord in 5 to 7 different pieces.
[PHOTO] branches, leaves and siding... on deck... [PHOTO] and in the yard [PHOTO] piece of siding stuck up into the frame of Frank's studio window.
So, when it struck the shop, apparently it blew the place up and then traveled down the extension cord breaking it into 6 pieces (all in 1/100 of a second) then proceeded to jump onto the porch light south side. Here the porch light casing was torn apart, extension cord was embedded into the siding and it cut the power off. The siding was blackened
Further Damage [PHOTO] [PHOTO]
places. Inside, the first thing that we found was that the downstairs stair light had burst and was all over the stairs and basement floor. The next thing we noticed was wood splinters over the freezer where the porch / hall light wire had been. It has broken the stud in two. We found out this morning that after lightning
demolished the porch and stair light, it jumped from the wire through Frank's side of the basement wall and hit the pump gauge. The gauge that originally looked like this: [ILLUSTRATION] now looks like this: [ILLUSTRATION]. We also found a nickel lying under the extension cord, charred. We also found another charred
place in Frank's basement wall besides the 2" by 2" hole. The site roof is torn up. The estimate sheet by Frank Ferrell is on the next page. The power was so great that it nearly blew the porch light switch out of the wall. The screws are loose and the switch
25.00 stm window 50.00 roof 75.00 window 88.00 side panels 50.00 studs/framing ________________ Total = 288.00 + Labor 3 288 4 ___ 1152 288 ___ 1440
was black and nearly blown out of the wall. An insurance man is coming this afternoon. The T.V. is dead. The tape was played before the general public today at 3 p.m. The phone company has still not come. Pieces of everything still lay around.
What was left of the phone wires where they came into the house... [PHOTO] [PHOTO] the cover to the above wires lay 40 feet away
[PHOTO] We may not have lights on the second floor for months. Phone service has not been restored. Power was restored at 9 AM, but was off for
2 hours. We took a load of frozen stuff over to Grandma's before sunrise this morning. This is the worst tragedy in history... Pink Island is closed for floods. Frank Ferrell was slightly injured by flying glass and debris. Jesse Ferrell was hurt when he
[PHOTO] Sally's studio... [PHOTO] shot from below...
received a shock from "the big one." Blackie Chicken Ferrell, Spots Ferrell, Blackie Cat Ferrell, Easy Ferrell, Blooded Ferrell, and Rocky Ferrell all are recovering from shock. Severe thunderstorms have already been reported east of here. The hole [MAP]
in the side of the house and in the roof is going to leak with heavier rains. We have not have any rain since this morning, but places are flooded and we have had 2.3" of rain in the last 24 hours. ALl of the Ferrells ears are ringing. More news as it becomes available...
WEATHER It was dark & cloudy all day today. We have a 70% chance of severe thunderstorms tonight and a breeze is already stirring. Today - L: 72 H: 82 P: 1.2" The lightning tripped 3 circuit breakers. The dukes came to our hosue this morning and fixed the power. We won't be the same for months...
3:19 The phone man is at the meter

Wednesday, June 17, 1987


NOTE: This blog was previously published in my youth, as part of a "newspaper" series on paper, but has been absorbed into my main blog for archival purposes. Click here for more information on this project, including abbreviations, notes, and help.


"It is black dark now at 8:25 pm. The sun set one minute ago and black clouds are moving in from the south. A similar thing happened as did last night. The anvil cloud from the East joined with the other storm and they both moved south but turned and are coming our way. It is raining heavily now. We just heard a very loud clap of thunder. The pump and all has been shut off.* J. Ferrell recorded a gust of 8.5 mph. Gusts in the trees are expected to be near 50 mph. The power just blinked... thunder every 4 seconds. Black clouds overhead... 8 pm cloud movement 1/2 mph, 8:37 pm cloud movement 60 mph. Lightning 3 strikes just seen... rain expected to already be 0.2"... Very windy... Winds ridiculous expected near 100 mph... 2 crack heard in the oak tree, top is leaning... live... hail reported... branches down on deck... close lightning... Frank* at Site*... horrible winds... Sally on porch.* Trees [sic] A 10 by 10 hole has been blown in the side of the site, pieces of the paneling on the deck... we smell fire. The hall light has been blown out and a hole is expected to be blow in the floor of the Site. Everything is ruined. We now hear ambulances, police cars and fire trucks on the highway. Phone is out - just crackling. Splinters of wood all over Site..."

The accompanying special fold-out map in the next day's edition detailed the destruction: