A high wind blew through Rogers City Sunday morning as congregations worshiped and Nautical City Festival committee members worked to set up the big tent. Around 11 a.m. a blast of wind from the edge of a storm, which passed through northern Michigan, ripped trees from the ground. Several trees at Westminster Park in Rogers City, including two at the north end of the park on the Third Street side, were moved out of the ground even as worship continued at Westminster Presbyterian Church directly across the street.
Mike Myers, Nautical City Festival committee member who is in charge of setting up the festival tent, said he and his small crew narrowly missed being in the wrong place at the wrong time as the wind blew through. They were trying to beat the impending rain they saw on the horizon while making trips from the festival storage garage to the tent. With trucks filled with the necessary furniture and fixures for the inside of the tent, the crew was a minute away from disaster.
While approaching the tent from near the Lakeside Park pavilion around 11 a.m. Sunday, he witnessed the tent being ripped from its stakes, doubling over on itself with the support stakes and poles thrown into the air. Several three-foot metal stakes were flung as far as the small boat harbor, with one landing near the fueling station. Miraculously the flying debris from the tent didn’t cause any major damage to boats in the harbor nor did it strike any person.
“I was on the phone with the tent company guy and told him his tent just blew away right while we were on the phone. He didn’t believe me,” Myers said. A crew, including members of the Rogers City High School wrestling team, assisted Myers in cleaning up debris Monday in preparation for installing the replacement tent. Tuesday’s events were expected to carry on as
scheduled as a replacement tent or tents were on the way, Myers said.
Trees around St. John Lutheran Church on Erie Street were damaged, but didn’t fall on the sanctuary. The storm approached as the Rev. Eric Voigt began his sermon for the 10:30 a.m. service. Winds blew the doors open on the west side of the church, but there was no panic, and the pastor continued with his sermon. Several trees were blown down on all sides of the triangular-shaped church, including one which struck the windshield of organist Paula Streich’s vehicle. Another branch from a tree on the north side missed hitting the roof by mere inches.
City crews worked all day to clean up debris left by the storm.
(More details in the next edition of the Advance)