Straight-line winds, not tornado, hit Millville

MILLVILLE, N.J. - July 26, 2010

Residents in the Cumberland County community say strong winds came through the area bringing down trees and tossing anything not bolted down.

A bridal shower was taking place on the 500 block of Cedar Road in Millville at the time of the storm. The bride, her friends and family tell Action News they ran for cover.

The canopy used for the event was blown into a pool.

"We're all happy, having a good time - eating, celebrating with family and the new wedding. All of a sudden the sky opened up," said bride-to-be Amy Grant. "The tents went flying."

The homeowner, who was inside during the party, says, before the storm hit, he looked at the Storm Tracker 6 radar on and saw the rain coming and said, "we'd better prepare."

The National Weather Service said the straight-line winds were the result of a microburst. It sent 80 mph winds screaming down on Millville for about five minutes.

No one was injured.

"The residents did exactly what they needed to do," said Sherman Taylor of Millville Emergency Management.

On Monday Atlantic City Electric still has about 8200 customers still without power from Sunday's storm. The company states on its website that it estimates that some customers won't have power until Wednesday.

However, the storm is being blamed for a death in Pennsylvania. Police in Manor Township, near Lancaster, say the unidentified woman was apparently electrocuted by a fallen power line in her back yard Sunday afternoon. Authorities say the 53-year-old woman was found within 10 feet of a fire sparked by the downed line.

Meanwhile, a large maple tree that provided shade for the 500 block of Roxborough Avenue in Philadelphia for decades came crashing down.

On Monday afternoon, that tree was still there. Besides the inconvenience of a closed road, the tree also took down a 13,200 volt power line, forcing PECO workers to make repairs high above the street.

George Bannan's van was in the path of that tree.

"Next thing you know that tree comes down, lands on the wires, power lines down everywhere," Bannan said. Soon he realized his 2009 minivan was under the tree. It will now need a new hood and driver-side door.

In Torresdale, another ancient tree succumbed to winds and gravity and came down on the home of Chester Rayca on Primrose Lane.

Rayca told Action News he was furious with the city and the Fairmount Park Commission, because he warned them about the danger the tree posed months ago.

"At least 20 times in the past year-and-a-half about the tree being a hazard," Rayca said.

Rayca said he got a letter from the city in August, 2009, saying he was on the priority list. However, he never heard anything else.

The city says there is no priority list and said when they looked at this tree last March they judged it "poor," instead of "critical," meaning it would be removed "eventually" instead of "immediately."

Of course, Mother Nature took care of the tree for them.

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