Marion Co. braces for second round of severe weather this week

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MARION, KAN.--- Communities in Marion County are bracing for high winds and heavy rain Tuesday night. If storms get bad, it will be the second time severe weather has hit the area this week. Sunday night into Monday, straight line winds reached 67 mph, blowing down trees and blowing off roofs.

Among the damage residents are still cleaning up, a tree that grew for 150 years in a Marion home's front yard.

"There was a loud bang in the house. I thought thunder just crashed right directly above us, until I came outside," said the homeowner, who doesn't want to be identified. He found the 5 ft. diameter trunk had snapped in half.

"Just missed the house by a fraction of an inch," he said. "So we got away pretty lucky. We were blessed on that."

He and his wife aren't the only lucky ones. Despite a number of structures with significant damage, including a water tower in the city of Hillsboro that lost its roof, no injuries were reported in Marion County. But with round two of thunderstorms forecasted again overnight, the director of emergency management says more damage could make even minimally damaged areas much worse.

"I'm concerned, as everyone probably is," Randy Frank said. "They're going to keep an eye on it. Our rivers haven't gone down much, so we'll see how much water comes out of this rain."

In the meantime, Frank encourages folks to come up with with their own disaster plans ahead of the storms.

"How are we going to communicate within a disaster, how are we going to take care of our pets, and then business owners need to also create plans for their businesses on how they're going to continue to operate if a disaster affects their business," Frank said.

Marion County is also hosting a "Preparedness Fair" on September 27, in honor of September being National Preparedness Month. Participants can learn about everything from family emergency plans to 72-hour-kits to first aid and CPR.

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