Before the Bluejacket versus Nowata softball game could begin last Thursday, Aug. 16, a storm blew through and a strong gust of wind caused a large tree limb to break and fall across four vehicles.
BLUEJACKET/QUAPAW – Generally parking vehicles away from a ballfield is a precaution taken to prevent a windshield from getting cracked by a stray ball, but a freak incident in Bluejacket caused damages to vehicles despite being parked some distance from the field.
Before the Bluejacket versus Nowata softball game could begin last Thursday, Aug. 16, a storm blew through and a strong gust of wind caused a large tree limb to break and fall across four vehicles. No players or bystanders were injured, but the heavy limb did cause substantial damages to several vehicles.
A cell phone video taken by a Nowata player caught images of the tree limb falling, the Nowata teammates' reaction and screams, and photos taken by Bluejacket Girls Softball Coach Martin and Bryan Baker captured the aftermath of damages.
“We were very lucky, it looked like it was easing up and four of my high school players were headed to the green pickup (in the pics) to get their equipment when that strong gust hit and sent the tree down, they were literally within 30 to 40 feet heading toward it. Very scary and a close call,” Martin said the next day.
Of course, the game was canceled, and coaches and parents worked to clear the tree debris off from the vehicles.
Martin said, “Two of my players, Haven Kelly, and Sydney Martin's vehicles were damaged and so was assistant coach Larry Martin's, the fourth vehicle belonged to a Nowata parent.”
Despite the tense circumstances, and canceled game, the players and coaches came together to make the best of the situation.
“We evacuated our teams to the new gymnasium that has a storm shelter large enough to easily accommodate everyone. The girls came together and bonded while making the Nowata team feel welcome and de-stressing a tense situation,” Coach Martin said. “They danced and sang together and got to know each other a little better and thankfully no one was hurt and we can play another day.”
The area saw a significant amount of rainfall over the weekend receiving 3.41 inches through Saturday and Sunday, according to reports from Oklahoma Mesonet, a network of environmental monitoring stations designed to measure the environment at the size and duration of mesoscale weather events.
In Miami, the widespread downpour over the weekend caused temporary flooding and closure of Oklahoma State Highway 69 near Quapaw at the railroad overpass, and several other area roadways including; 3rd and D Streets NE, 20th and D Streets NE, A Street and C Street NE by Miami Boulevard, Hwy. 69A North of Buffalo Run and Hwy. 69A by the railroad tracks at County Road 590.
Oklahoma Mesonet reports a past 14 day total of 8.35 inches of rainfall, and the August total so far of 8.26 inches.
Miami's Year to Date total is at 30.30 inches, according to Oklahoma Mesonet.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.