Kimberlee Brahmer was inside her house in Stanton when she heard the tree branch fall around 4 a.m. Sunday morning. She ran outside to move her car, but it wasn’t until the sun came up that she realized the damage was caused from a lightning strike -- just feet from her house.
“Look at how black it is,” said her father, Kim Brahmer, pointing at the tree behind his daughter’s home at 704 Hickory Street. “She was very lucky.”
Just south of town at Elkhorn Acres Golf Course, a half dozen trees were uprooted in the storm, leaving downed branches throughout the nine-hole course. With so much damage, many volunteers who were cleaning up the mess speculated that perhaps a tornado was part of the storm.
Stanton County Emergency Manager Michael Frohberg said he hopes to have a definitive answer in the coming days on whether it was straight line winds or a tornado that ripped through Stanton.
“Some residents are thinking that it was a tornado that came through since the winds were so high, so we sent in pictures to the National Weather Service so they can analyze the pictures and the damage and get back to us,” Frohberg said. “Nothing is confirmed, but the National Weather Service thinks that it was straight line winds with a downburst.”
Marland Erbst, manager of Elkhorn Acres Golf Course, said his greenskeeper called around 7:30 a.m. with news of the damage. After just a couple of phone calls, word spread that the course needed help – lots and lots of help — to clean up the debris..
Volunteers brought tractors, trailers, chain saws and more to help clear the course, which left Erbst beaming with community pride.
“The first people that were out here helping were elementary kids and their family, and they started picking up the little pieces and more and more people kept coming out to help,” Erbst said. “It was really awesome to see everyone come out and help us clean up.”
Erbst admitted he didn’t realize the winds were as strong as they were until he was told of the damage, which was most significant at Hole No. 3, which had multiple trees uprooted, besides other branches down.
“It was just kind of a shock to me that the trees were uprooted the way they were,” Erbst said.
Thanks to the dozens of volunteers, the course was reopened at noon on Monday.
Frohberg said the emergency management team had been monitoring the weather most of Sunday in preparation for the storm hitting Stanton.
“The only thing that was unknown for us about the storm was the timing.” Frohberg said. “It started later than what we were anticipating. By the time 2 a.m. rolled around, our emergency management staff was activated, and we watched the storm come in and it hit us around 4 a.m.”
Frohberg said they received reports of tree branches down, uprooted trees and damaged outbuildings from the winds.