Storm Slams Spinnler Point!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 Update

Late Thursday evening, May 26, 2011, a quick-moving but powerful wind storm, coupled with hail and rain, slammed into Spinnler Point causing considerable damage to trees and some homes. In less than a half hour, a number of very large trees were snapped at the base and strewn about the roads and properties within the Point.

 

 

Shore Road, near the entrance to the Point, is completely blocked by a large pine tree from the Baron’s property that snapped near the top of the trunk (photos 16-19). Further down Shore Road, a large Oak tree from Dave Nowak’s property snapped, fell across Shore Road, narrowly missing landing atop his house (photos 12-13).

Shore Road is now open.

Terrace Road, at the top of the hill by the Koleda residence, is blocked by one of Koleda’s trees (photos 9-10). Tom Baldwin’s house escaped damage but a large pine on his property blew down and blocked a portion of Terrace Road. Nearby neighbor, Nevin Barndt helped out with his chain saw and removed the sections of the tree blocking the road. So, if you enter the Point from Willow Road, turn left onto Elm, turn right onto Old Pine Road, then left onto Terrace Road, you can get to the open roads near the “back” of the Point.

As of this writing, the tree at the top of Terrace Road Hill has been removed but the power/telephone/cable lines are hanging very low as a result of being pulled down by the tree. We are waiting for the appropriate companies to come in and restore the wires to their correct height.

The entrance to Spruce Road is completely blocked by 13 large pines from the Unterkofler property
(photos 21-24).

Our sincere appreciation to John Sirico, grandson of Helen Unterkoffler,
for coordinating the removal of the trees blocking Spruce Road.
There is still some debris to be cleaned up so, for now, travel with caution.

As of this update, the only access into the Point is via Willow Road, then onto Elm, and from there you can access the back streets that are open.

In response to some comments and questions about why the Association isn’t busy opening the main roads, we have the following to offer:

  • First, from a safety factor, no one should be cutting any trees that have taken down power lines. Without PP&L supervision, there is no way to tell whether the power lines are de-energized or not and we certainly do not want to risk anyone getting electrocuted.
     
  • Next, none of the trees that have fallen across the major roads within the Point are actually Association trees. Rather, adding “insult to injury” to an already bad situation, it is the property owner’s responsibility to have the trees removed from the road and their property. Pending budget approvals, the Association doesn’t even have any “front money” to be able to assist. In most cases, property owners have contacted their respective insurance companies.

Our sincere thanks to the property owners who responded quickly to the situation and made arrangements to have the trees blocking the roads and impacting their properties removed.

Needless to say, as the large trees snapped and went down, they not only took out power lines but telephone and cable lines as well.  Spinnler Point was without power from Thursday evening until Saturday evening when some of the power within the Point was restored. During the outage, portable generators could be heard as homeowners tried to keep freezers and refrigerators running to protect their investment in frozen foods.

After riding around the Point, it appears that homeowners, Linda Harris and the Fishers, took the biggest hits. The right side of Linda Harris’ home (photo 7) sustained considerable damage while the Fishers wound up with a tree landing upon their home (photos 5-6). Charlie and Sandy Fisher were home at the time of the storm and reflected on having the bejeezus scared out of them when the tree came down and hit the roof.

The trees from both homes have been removed. Linda Harris sent a nice note thanking Steve Wishnick and Dave Zeiler for helping her protect her property from further damage until repairs can be made. She is, as are we, grateful that no one was injured throughout this ordeal.

The entrance to Ed and Christine King’s home also took a hit from a large tree that snapped at the base
(photo 8).

Fortunately, there were no injuries resulting from the storm. The most surprising good news, reported by Dock Chairman, Ken Ziegler, is that the docks and boats moored on them were not affected by the storm. In fact, lakefront property owner, Tony Miraglia, whose pontoon boat was just put in the day before the storm, stated his boat and dock were not even touched or damaged by the storm. While not a visible tornado that touched down, the storm appeared to be driven by high sheer winds that seemed to selectively take down some of the tallest, most rigid, trees on people’s properties. There are a number of visible instances where one tall tree, amidst several smaller trees, was the only one taken down by the wind.

Elsewhere, there was a total power blackout along the length of Route 6 all the way into and through Hawley. Gas stations, food stores, banks, and other businesses were totally without power. It was reported that Hawley, at night, looked like a ghost town. As of Saturday, May 28, some power had been restored. We observed lights in front of some of the businesses and Turkey Hill, on Route 6, was pumping gas. Honesdale seems to have escaped any problems from the storm. Gas-powered generators at Home Depot and Agway disappeared in a flash as customers raced to purchase them.

Routes 402 and 507 were also blocked by fallen trees. Driving up to the lake Friday evening, I had to take a detour up Shiny Mountain Road and out to Route 390 because of a HUGE oak tree that had been blown across Route 507. However, while returning home Saturday afternoon, Route 507 was re-opened to one lane traffic as PP&L and Asplund continued working on the tree and power lines. We have not heard about the status of Route 402.

It goes without saying that it will take a while before things get back to normal within the Point. It’s a shame that the Memorial Day weekend had to suffer the results of this unfortunate event.

With respect to the roads, Chairman Leigh Murray and Road Committee members Herman Schmid and Ken Ziegler, are in control of monitoring progress on tree and debris removal. We will try our best to keep you informed of progress.

Ray Korup
 

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