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