Dresden hit by suspected ‘microburst’ storm

As with the 1978 storm, it will take years for the visual loss of so many tall trees, like those fallen locusts, to subside.

DRESDEN – In a repeat of the storm that hit Penn Yan two weeks ago, Mother Nature turned her wrath on Lake Seneca and the tiny village of Dresden on Tuesday evening, June 13. This is the third such storm to hit Yates County this year, so far. The first toppled a building under construction at Knapp & Schlappi Lumber in Penn Yan on May 26.

As a line of storms swept across the state, a 78mph wind gust was recorded at Penn Yan Airport just before the Dresden storm, which became the center of damage much like a previous storm in 1978, still remembered by many with wonder in its destruction.

As then, the many beautiful trees in the village bore the brunt of the storm; but like the previous storm in Penn Yan, homes in Dresden were largely spared, as were headstones in Evergreen Cemetery.

A graveyard scene reminiscent of the previous storm in Penn Yan.
Many of the tallest trees barely missed the monuments in Evergreen Cemetery.
The first aid practice of the Methodist Church in Dresden was also spared, but barely.

A building met its end at the start of the storm. The village water tank storage barn to the west of the village was blown over and over a 6ft chain link fence and smashed to pieces. A large tree then fell on Route 54, washing out the city’s power lines and snapping off the tops of the poles. The highway remained closed until late the next day as repairs were made.

These broken pieces of wall and roof are all that remains of the Dresden Village Water Service storage barn that was blown out of the fenced yard seen in the far left.
The storm ripped the building from its anchors inside this 6-foot-tall fenced yard, leaving the contents behind.
The east end of Route 54 was closed overnight as crews worked to remove fallen trees and restore power lines.

Three very large trees fell at the edge of the US Navy base in Dresden, one of which completely destroyed the base’s panel but spared the mast beside it. Other trees and large limbs were all snapped and generally laying eastward, lending credence to the belief that it was a microburst rather than a tornado. The Dresden teams were assisted by the town of Torrey and the town of Milo, as well as Jim Covell & Son Tree Service who have a contract with the village.

Broken into pieces, the sign for the U.S. Naval Station is under this tree, but the flagpole was spared.
Milo and Torrey crews responded to help Dresden clean up after the storm.

As residents cleaned up their yards and hauled what they could down the street, Mayor Bill Hall pondered how the tiny village of less than 350 people would meet the costs. He was told their insurance will not cover the removal of the dozens of fallen trees, many of which were between 150 and 200 years old, he said. Ironically, Hall says Dresden had been denied a Department of Homeland Security grant a few days prior, seeking backup power. DHS responded that the village did not have enough history of power outages to warrant the grant.

This huge pile of logs and branches is just the beginning of the debris to be cleared in Dresden.

“It may not be important to the state or DHS,” Hall said, “but it’s a major disaster for a small town like ours.”

Even the surviving trees have lost many of their branches and still need to be removed.
A house next to the village square in Dresden.
Village residents will be clearing downed trees for a while as local tree businesses try to keep up.
Most of the trees fell or split to the east.
Evergreen Cemetery was particularly hard hit.
Covell & Son working in the cemetery.
Many of the tallest trees barely missed the monuments in Evergreen Cemetery.
Many of the tallest trees barely missed the monuments in Evergreen Cemetery.
As Covell & Sons cleans up fallen trees, it looks like most homes in Dresden, like this house near the square, have only suffered minor damage;  good news to the many young families and elderly people in the village.
Companies and municipal teams still have work to do in the cemetery and in other parts of Dresden.

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