Strong storm hits Snake Creek Recreation Area


Some people are still recovering from powerful storms that rolled through KELOLAND overnight.

One of the places that took a big hit is the Snake Creek Recreation Area west of Platte.

A park official says some tree branches came down on some tents, injuring three young campers from a youth group.

We’re told two were sent to the hospital, but they have been released.While the early morning storm is gone, there’s still plenty of cleanup work to do.

Barb Hoekstra and her family got an early wakeup call Wednesday morning.

“It started getting really windy and then we started hearing tree branches hit the camper,” Camper Barb Hoekstra.

The family of four considered taking shelter in the bathrooms at the recreation area, but then they encountered another surprise.

Hoekstra: I opened up my camper door and I could open it about this far. There were tree branches all over.
Kelli Volk: So you couldn’t get out of the door?
Hoekstra: We couldn’t get out if we wanted to.

A tree toppled over onto the back of the camper Brett Taylor and his grandparents were sleeping in.

“I was scared out of my mind. I couldn’t get out of that door fast enough,” Camper Brett Taylor said.

Fortunately, the storm didn’t hit over the weekend when there would be more people camping in the recreation area.

“It could’ve been way worse,” Hoekstra said.

Now, staff and volunteers have more cleanup work to do.

“The first thing is to get all the downed branches and trees right now and get them hauled off. After that we’ll start limbing the trees that are broken and potential fall hazards,” GF&P District Park Supervisor Justin Thede.

But the park will remain open to campers.

In fact, the Hoekstra family is staying put.

“We’re going to keep on,” Hoekstra said.

But she’s hoping there are no more early morning wakeup calls.

Thede says park staff do warn campers of potential danger such as tornado warnings and high winds if staff are available.

In this case, the storm rolled through at about 4:00 AM, which is before staff are in for the day.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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