Second storm in two months hits Geneseo

Lisa Depies
A large tree lays sprawled across the yard of a Geneseo home following the July 23 storm.

A wind storm struck Geneseo on July 23 ripping branches off trees and, in come cases, knocking over the trees themselves.

The storm is the second such wind storm this summer and the third in as many years.

“We had a wind storm on June 23 and then the storm on?July 23. We need to figure out a way in advance to wipe Aug. 23 from the calendar,” said Geneseo mayor Linda Van Der Leest.

“City crews had just gotten to the point where everything from the June 23 storm was cleaned up, and now here we go again,” she said.

An inch of rain fell on the city between July 23 and the early hours of July 24, according to the official measurement, which is tracked at the city’s electric plant. However, the high winds that accompanied the storm caused the damage.

“The biggest problem we’re finding is that the storm further damaged trees that had just basic damage before,” said Van Der Leest. “It’s become a frustration for our city guys because all they’re doing this summer is cleaning up trees. They can’t get on track to get anything else done.”

Between flooding on?May 13 and wind storms in June and July, city crews, through no fault of their own, are behind on basic summer projects such as sidewalk repairs and road patching.

“Everything we normally do in a summer has been hampered by the weather,” said Van Der Leest. “Do we hire someone else to do those projects and pay more money just so we can keep up, or do you delay the projects further and further into the fall?”

In addition to costing the city time, the storms also cost money. Van Der Leest estimates each storm costs the city about $7,000 in overtime pay.

Despite frustrations caused by the storm, Van Der Leest said she’s been impressed with how city employees and residents have  responded.

“Our staff and our citizens take a lot of pride in this city,” she said. “Our residents have been so good about taking loads of branches to the burn pile or, if they can’t get there, getting the branches to the curb. Every bit helps.”

City crews will collect tree debris left on the curb, but Van Der?Leest asked residents to be patient as the collection takes time.

“We have roughly 3,000 utility paying customers in the city, which means there are potentially 3,000 stops our city workers have to make. That doesn’t happen overnight,” she said.

Though past wind storms have caused more damage to the south side of Geneseo, the July 23 storm appeared to cause more damage on the north side.

“At Oakwood Cemetery (on the south side of town), there are only about half a dozen trees down. That pales in comparison to other storms,” said Van?Der Leest. “Those trees will probably lay for a bit while everything else gets cleaned up.”

If any resident is interested in cutting wood from downed trees in Oakwood Cemetery to use for burning, Van Der Leest said the city will allow it. However, a waiver must be signed at city hall prior to wood being cut in the cemetery.

The city’s burn pile will be open all day on July 31 and Aug. 1. The following weekend, Aug. 7, the burn pile will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A downed tree lays in the yard of a home on College Avenue.