TORNADO, W.Va. –– Twisted and uprooted trees lie in the path of anyone wanting to play on Kanawha County’s Big Bend Golf Course after a powerful storm last Thursday and there’s currently no date for its reopening.
Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Executive Director Jeff Hutchinson said there are 205 trees down on the golf course.
“Either all the way down on the ground or broken off 15 feet in the air,” Hutchinson said. “We’ve got a pretty good sized mess down here.”
Hutchinson spent part of his Tuesday traveling the course to take account of the tree numbers and to view the damage with an insurance adjuster. Because of the nature of the removal work, it may take a while to reopen the course. Hutchinson said they need for the course to dry out before they can get started on the removal work.
“We can’t do it with small equipment and if we put a bunch of heavy equipment out there we could tear up stuff you can’t put back” he explained. “We’re really going to have to be careful how we do this.”
Most of the trees downed by 75 mph winds were pine trees.
Many thought the area was hit with a tornado, but forecasters say the pattern of damaged revealed the storm last week was a result of updrafts and straight line winds. The National Weather Service said it was a microburst. Hutchinson said the bulk of the damage came on the backside of the golf course along the Coal River.
There was also damage to the club house and the pro shop as a result f winds and rain.
“It’s going to take some time and I can’t put a timeline on it,” he said. “It’s going to be developing as we go.”
Hutchinson had originally hoped to get the front nine holes reopened in a matter days but that an exact date remained uncertain Tuesday.