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Granite Shoals employees work up a storm to clear debris

Fallen tree in Granite Shoals

Just one of the large trees snapped by high winds during a fast and furious storm that blew through Granite Shoals and the rest of the Highland Lakes on the night of May 5. Granite Shoals city employees teamed up and cleared the city’s roads of downed trees before morning. Courtesy photo by Tim Campbell

City of Granite Shoals employees were recognized during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 9, for their quick response to storm damage on the night of May 5. High winds downed trees across the city, obstructing roads and knocking out power for hours. 

“We had a very bad storm run through Granite Shoals over the weekend,” said City Manager Peggy Smith during her manager’s report to the council. “Our guys got out and did what they’re supposed to do in response to this.”

The Granite Shoals emergency task force, led by Fire Chief Tim Campbell, worked through the night to clear streets by morning, Smith said. 

Campbell coordinated with Streets and Parks Superintendent Ronald “Shorty” Corley and Police Chief John Ortis to put together the quick-response team, Campbell said. Four streets were totally obstructed by fallen trees, and large quantities of brush and branches made it difficult to traverse many of the roads on Granite Shoals’ west side.

“As soon as the storm had cleared out, police, fire crews, parks and streets, we all got together, got a plan, got a backhoe, and started going up and down the roads on the west side of town,” Campbell told

The emergency crew worked until midnight and stayed at the ready until power was restored. Smith estimated that portions of the city lost electricity for about three hours.

Campbell’s report to the council was met with applause from officials and dozens of residents who attended the meeting.

Place 4 Councilor Steve Hougen singled out and thanked Chief Ortis for his management of the city’s Everbridge alert system, which notified the councilor of storm hazards while he was in Europe on vacation. The system was implemented in January, allowing residents to sign up for mass city notifications during emergencies.

Smith also opened the city’s brush pile to residents on Monday to ease the burden of disposing of organic debris from the storm.

“We did lose a lot of very healthy trees,” she lamented.

No injuries were reported in the storm. Campbell’s fire command truck did receive two dings, and Superintendent Corley lost a windshield on his work truck to hail.