Cleanup under way after microburst causes damage in Rockland County

August 9, 2013 9:56:12 AM PDT
Residents are cleaning up and assessing the damage after a microburst storm cell brought down trees and power lines throughout Rockland County Thursday.

For the people caught in the blinding power of the sudden storm, it sure felt like a tornado. The National Weather Service confirmed that a microburst with high winds likely struck the area.

The bulk of the damage was in the towns of West Haverstraw and Stony Point. That's where the storm left a trail of toppled trees, some of them ripped right from their roots.

Residents marveled as how lucky they were and how a storm could do so much damage in so little time.

"It was incredible, something to see, Mother Nature," Stony Point resident Doug Jobson said.

The storm left hundreds of homes without power, and it took until about 2 a.m. Friday to get all of them back online.

Fire officials say a plywood roof was ripped off the Green town house complex, and families in at least four units had to seek shelter with friends and relatives.

One West Haverstraw man has a lot of cleaning up to do after he got a very rude awakening during the storm. A 75-foot-tall tree slammed through the roof of Frank Hoyer's home. It came down on his bed just seconds after he got up to check out the wild weather.

"I couldn't get out of the room," he said. "I was stuck in there."

So Frank called his brother Joe, who lives behind him, for help.

"All I was thinking is the tree came down and he was crushed," Joe Hoyer said. "But when I got inside, he hollered through the door that he was okay."

They didn't know if the roof would hold, so firefighters moved quickly, busting down the door and getting the 66-year-old to safety.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," Frank said. "I'm a Vietnam veteran, I'm used to explosions."

Hoyer, who still plans to attend his grandson's christening Saturday, suffered minor bruises.

"He says he's not shaken up, but he is," Joe Hoyer said. "He is a Vietnam veteran with a Purple Heart, he's been through a lot."

Heavy rain and downed trees also were reported in parts of Garnerville and Cortlandt.

The National Weather Service says more rain on Friday could cause flash flooding.