Click here to watch a video, courtesy of KPAX-TV, Missoula, Mont., about the following story.
Campers at Lake Inez and Lake Alva campgrounds in western Montana found Tuesday (June 26) to be anything but a quiet day on the lake.
“It sounded like gunshots,” Missoula camper Dezeray Lindsley said. “It was loud booms and then when it hit the ground it would shake.”
Winds whipped through her campground Tuesday morning, knocking down hundreds of trees in its path.
“It sounded like people were shooting shotguns out there, which is very common,” Lake Alva Campground Host Roger Carlson said. “Then you notice the trees are coming down close around you so you grab the dogs and start driving.”
Campers like Lindsley were set up for a worry-free vacation. And then, the wind came: snapping and uprooting trees over power lines and onto roads.
“We kinda just all went into the camper and hid out ’til it was gone,” Lindsley said.
It wasn’t any safer out on Montana Highway 83. On one short stretch between Lake Inez and Alva, more than six massive trees fell over the guard rail and onto the road.
“You just see ’em all fall and, they didn’t break in half, they came down from the roots so the root bulbs came out and crushed it,” Carlson said. “I know there were two cars on the other side of it that were crushed from that same fall over there.”
“It was scary,” Lindsley said. “Something I don’t wanna go through again.”
While the campers who planned to stay another night under the trees, they now look at their campsite with caution.
“I think they could come down any minute,” Lindsley said. They’re not very sturdy up here.”
“Mother Nature. She runs her own path,” Carlson said.
Montana Department of Transportation crews who were on Montana Highway 83 to pave, quickly switched gears to help Seeley Lake fire crews remove trees from the roads.
While several people told us they saw damaged cars, there were no reports of serious injury.