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Wind gusts rip 100-year-old trees from FMC Park

FMC park in West Pocatello child slide underneath the tree
This is at FMC Park in West Pocatello. There’s a child’s slide underneath that cottonwood tree.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A Labor Day wind storm, with gusts of 110 mph in some areas, wreaked havoc on the FMC Park in West Pocatello.

“It’s almost unrecognizable,” said park treasurer, Heidi Velasquez.

Velasquez has been enjoying the park all her life, and never has she seen damage like this.

“It’s just kind of amazing what Mother Nature can do and what she leaves behind,” Velasquez said.

The storm tore through the park, uprooting about 30 trees--some massive, 100-year-old cottonwoods--and damaging power lines. One tree toppled onto the restrooms and damaged the roof of the building. Another fell onto the playground toys, breaking the child's slide.

Velasquez's initial survey of the wreckage showed between 30-50 trees were damaged beyond saving. Some trees left behind giant holes in the dirt where their roots once laid.

During the thick of the storm, Velasquez called her father, who lives on the property and takes care of the grounds. She said the sound of the trees coming down was unbelievable.

“I could hear it on the phone, and he’s like 'That's the trees, they’re being uprooted not breaking,'" she said. "It sounded almost like a hurricane."

The house on the property wasn't damaged, but the damage to the park and the grounds is overwhelming.

“We’re talking months of work,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez is asking for volunteers from the community to help clean up the park. Those who are willing and able can call her at 208-339-4914.

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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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