Dresden struck by suspected 'microburst' storm
DRESDEN —In a repeat of the storm that struck Penn Yan two weeks ago, Mother Nature turned her wrath toward Seneca Lake and the smaller village of Dresden Tuesday night, June 13. This is the third such storm to hit Yates County this year, so far. The first knocked down a building under construction at Knapp & Schlappi Lumber in Penn Yan May 26.
As a line of storms crossed the state, a wind gust 78 mph was recorded at the Penn Yan Airport just before the storm his Dresden, which became the center of damage much like a previous storm in 1978, still recalled by many with wonder in its destruction.
Like then, the village's many beautiful trees took the brunt of the storm; but like the earlier storm in Penn Yan the houses of Dresden were largely spared, as were the headstones in Evergreen Cemetery.
One building did meet its end early in the storm. The storage barn at the village's water tank west of the village was blown out and over a 6-foot chain link fence and smashed to pieces. A large tree then fell across Route 54, taking town power lines and snapping off pole tops. The highway remained closed until well into the following day as repairs were made.
Three very large trees came down at the edge of the Dresden U.S. Navy base, one of which destroyed the base's sign completely but spared the flagpole next to it. Other trees and large limbs were all snapped and generally laid down toward the east, giving credence to the belief this was a microburst rather than a tornado. Dresden crews were assisted by the Town of Torrey and the Town of Milo, as well as Jim Covell & Son Tree Service who contracts with the village.
As residents cleaned up their yards and hauled what they could streetside, Mayor Bill Hall contemplated how the small village of fewer than 350 residents was going to cope with the costs. He has been informed their insurance will not cover the removal of the dozens of fallen trees, many of which were between 150 and 200 years old, he says. Ironically, Hall says Dresden was denied a grant from the Department of Homeland Security just days before, seeking an emergency power supply. The DHS replied the village did not have enough of a history of power outages to justify the grant.
"This may not be significant to the state or the DHS," said Hall, "but this is a major disaster for a little village like ours."