More thunderstorms hit; heavy hail damage to hemp crops

One estimate: $25 million; power back on in Bend

Storm damage in Bend Redmond and Tumalo

BEND, Ore. - (Update: Power restored to 2,000 in Bend; more on car fire hit by lightning, roof damage in Redmond, crop damage in Tumalo, Cline Falls areas)

While cleanup was under way in several parts of Central Oregon from two days of thunder, lightning, hail and flash flooding, a new group of storms rumbled through the region Saturday afternoon and evening, knocking out power to about 2,000 on Bend's north end for several hours

Traffic lights were out, some businesses closed and the Albertsons grocery store at Third Street and Revere Avenue ran on generator power after a Pacific Power line was hit by lightning about 5 p.m. Officials said it could take until midnight to restore all power, but it was back on by 11:30 p.m.

Friday's storms brought hail that damaged hemp and other crops. Deschutes County Farm Bureau President Matt Cyrus said the hardest-hit farms were between Cline Falls and Tumalo, with an early estimate of 500 acres of hemp damaged or destroyed, causing $25 million in losses.

Meanwhile, strong gusts of wind blew part of a roof off in Redmond and the storm also sent one lightning bolt through a parked car’s windshield in southwest Bend. 

Terry Guillory of Redmond was sitting on his front porch watching the hail coming down Friday evening when the wind tore a piece of the roof off from right above him.

“I’ve been here 10 years and I’ve never seen a storm this bad,” Guillory said Saturday.

His next-door neighbor, Tyler Haggie, was sitting on the other side of Guillory’s fence when it happened. 

“It was humorous, just because it happens to one in a million,” Haggie said. 

The storm was less than enjoyable for others.

Neighbors reported a car on fire in a driveway in southern Bend, on Hollygrape Street, to Bend Fire & Rescue shortly before 6 p.m. Friday evening. The property owners were not home at the time.

"We were able to quickly extinguish the fire before it extended to the garage and the home itself, which is a mere three feet away, Deputy Fire Marshal Susie Maniscalco said Saturday. “Obviously, if the car were to be inside the home, it could’ve been a different outcome.” 

When Fire & Rescue officials arrived at the scene, they found a huge hole in the windshield and the airbag on fire.

“It’s an incident that could not have been foreseen and luckily no one was injured or killed (as they would have been) if they had been inside the car,” Maniscalco said.

Other parts of Central Oregon were hit with heavier rounds of hail.

In fact, the hail was so heavy in Tumalo, a snow plow was deployed to push a substantial amount off U.S. Highway 20 and clear the streets.

Area residents said it appeared hemp farms, and perhaps others, had suffered costly damage from the hailstorm, a day after storms brought flash flooding to the Powell Butte area, leaving much damage behind.

Organic Hemp Farms said in a Facebook post that a "six-inch hailstorm ruined our farmers' crops. Mother Nature is always there to let you know who is in control. Prayers to the farmers and families who lost their crop."

Numerous severe thunderstorm warnings were issued through Friday afternoon and evening by the National Weather Service as the storms rolled through the High Desert, as well as points to the north and east, bringing intense rain, wind and heavy hail.

A Redmond resident said wind and hail tore the roof off his porch.

More than 2,500 lightning strikes hit the Central Oregon region, according to NewsChannel 21's Emily Kirk. That means firefighters across the region again responded to numerous smoke or fire reports, but none were reported to have grown large at this time, likely due to the rain accompanying many storms.

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