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Wind, lightning leave mess around Lake Olmstead

Storm damage

Storms on Wednesday damaged the GreenJackets stadium. (WRDW-TV / July 14, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday July 14, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Wednesday night's storms left some damage to clean up today in Augusta. Crews were out early this morning and the GreenJackets worked all day to get the center field wall ready for the first pitch Thursday night. It fell during the storm.

It was quite an impressive lightning storm Wednesday night and between the lightning and the wind, dozens around Lake Olmstead spent the day getting things back to normal.

The latest round of storms to roll through Augusta left one big victim behind, the GreenJackets stadium. The hole gives new meaning to the phrase "a gap in center."

"My first impression was, I can't believe it's happening, but then again I realized I was in Minor League Baseball, and anything can happen in Minor League Baseball," said GreenJackets General Manager Nick Brown.

Strong winds knocked out a 50-foot gap in the 8-foot high center field wall Wednesday night.

"The gust apparently came from the center field, because it pushed the wall over onto the playing surface.The six beams that were supporting the wall snapped at the base," Brown said.

Crews worked late into the night and then all day Thursday working to get a new wall in place for Thursday night's double header.

"It was just an act of God, it was something that happened and these things happen, and we just deal with it and we'll just move forward. They're working hard, we've got the old wall removed, we put up the new framing. We should be ready to go, it shouldn't be much longer," Brown said.

Eddie Janke and his dog, Hootie, were on Overton Street and saw the lightning.

"All of a sudden the sky turned pitch dark. The lightning bolts were just coming down like God was just throwing them," Janke said.

It wasn't long before he heard one hit.

"When that tree hit right there, the power lines looked like rubber bands they were just going who, who, who and sparks were flying," he said. "I was standing there watching and sparks flew off of that telephone pole, and then all the lights went out down the street."

Several detours were in place as crews worked to get the wires back in the air.

"That street down there, those poor people, they didn't have they didn't have electricity until early this morning," Janke said.

He said he's glad everyone's okay, but the storm was fun to watch.

"We were right there in the middle of it and it was really exciting, it was something to see," Janke said.

The GreenJackets did get the 8-foot wall back in place, but the team says they will be working on getting the taller fence or "batter's eye" back soon.


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