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Charges filed against family friend in kidnapping, murder of 5-year-old

Hay Creek area slammed by midnight storm

This 65-foot Norway pine fell next to Jerry and Ann Charley's home on Hay Creek Drive. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 3
Ruby Hensel looks down over the bank to Hay Creek. The silver object at the left side of the picture was her pole barn roof. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 3
The Hensel's barn roof is now overlooking Hay Creek in the background. If the trees hasn't broken its flight, it would have landed in the creek. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)3 / 3

It got a little hairy Monday at midnight when a 65-foot Norway pine was sucked out of the ground at Jerry and Ann Charley's place.

Their fear turned to relief when they saw the tree neatly lined up near the house on Hay Creek Drive, nine miles north of Park Rapids.

It did no damage.

Down the road, Ruby Hensel said "a heck of a wind" took the roof off her pole barn and tossed it 200 yards, over her house and van, down on the banks of Hay Creek. One of the sturdy wooden posts snapped three feet off the ground.

"It could have landed on the house!" the 89-year-old said Tuesday.

Jerry Charley believes it was a microburst that sent driving rain and high winds through the neighborhood.

The Charleys lost several trees, as did the Hensels.

"It was pretty scary," Ann Charley admitted.

Downed trees were a common sight throughout Hubbard County, but the Hay Creek neighborhood appeared to have suffered the brunt of the storm that dumped up to 2½ inches of rain overnight.

Rainfall totals were spotty. Near County 18, residents there reported an inch-and-a-half. More rainfall amounts were re-ported further northeast.

The National Weather Service reported an inch of rain at the Park Rapids airport overnight.

And in a volatile summer, one more neighborhood is experiencing the sounds of chain saws cleaning up.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364
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