By Fred Stabbert III
SULLIVAN COUNTY For 169 years and six generations the Diehl family has been farming on Diehl Rd. in the Beechwoods, halfway between Callicoon and Jeffersonville.
And on Thursday night, the most violent storm in their family’s memory tore through their barnyard, knocking over a silo, flattening a hayfield and uprooting several trees.
Adam Diehl, who was milking cows by generator Friday morning, said, “There was a lot of heavy wind, it came so fast. In 10 or 15 minutes it was over.”
His father, Pete Diehl Sr., said, “It was like fireworks” after several trees crossed a nearby power line and started a fire in the woods.
A silo built in 1979 succumbed to the violent winds, falling neatly in the driveway alongside the barn, touching nothing. And dozens of shingles were ripped off the lower side of the barn roof, a roof which was just replaced about seven years ago. A nearby hayfield was also flattened, looking like it had been run over with a tractor.
Pete Sr. remembers escorting his grandson home on the four-wheeler after milking time Thursday night, and on his return trip home, the “wind was breaking already breaking off branches and hitting my truck” as he headed up Diehl Rd.
“Let’s head for the basement,” he told his wife as he entered the house. With that he heard a tree go over and ran outside to find a tree down next to his house.
“Nobody got hurt,” Pete said matter of factly. “We can fix all that.”
Adam agreed, “We will have a lot of firewood for maple syrup season next year. I guess that’s one way of looking at it.”
Across the mountain
On the other side of the mountain, the Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center was getting beaten by shear wind, heavy rain and hail.
The Capri building, which is located directly behind the main hotel, had a 50-by-100 foot piece of its rubber roof ripped off.
Friday morning a half dozen workers were busy “patching it up,” and getting ready for the Memorial Day crowd to arrive.
“We’ll put a temporary patch on it and get it ready for the weekend,” hotel employee Alan Calkin said.
The Villa Roma’s Ski Chalet also saw shear wind, cutting a telephone pole in half and almost taking down the entrance sign.
Getting back up
NYSEG workmen were out in full force, restoring power to the 6,800 customers who lost electric in western, northern and southern Sullivan County.
“It looks like a shear wind came through,” David Calkin of NYSEG, who was working the field Friday morning, said. “Thank God today [Friday] is good weather. It is so much better and safer to restore power when you don’t have to worry about falling branches and rain to contend with.”
By late Friday morning the Villa Roma, hamlet of Callicoon and many surrounding areas were back in business.