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Lightning hits church

July 27, 2013
By Jason Raiche - Staff Writer , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Cooler temperatures are expected this weekend following a storm system that brought rainfall to the area Thursday night into Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Marquette.

Delta, Menominee, and Schoolcraft counties remained under an urban and small stream flood advisory that expired 9 p.m. Friday night due to runoff from excessive rainfall.

Matt Dutter, meteorologist from the NWS in Marquette, said the Delta County Airport had measured 3.02 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period, as of approximately 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Article Photos

Ilsa Matthes | Daily Press
In the above photo, Escanaba Public Safety officers respond to the scene of a small steeple fire caused by a lightning strike at the vacant Old St. Patrick’s Church, located at 214 S. 12th St., Escanaba, Friday afternoon. The Escanaba area experienced some significant rainfall totals Friday following a stormy afternoon. The Delta County Airport reported 3.02 inches of rain had fallen in a 24-hour period as of 4 p.m. Friday.

A weather observer in LaBranche in northern Menominee County had recorded 2.95 inches over the same period, while observers in Stonington and Manistique recorded 2.54 inches and 1.53 inches, respectively.

The Escanaba Water Plant recorded 1.56 inches of rain at approximately 7 a.m. Friday morning following Thursday night's storm. No updated totals reflecting Friday afternoon's rainfall were available Friday afternoon since precipitation is measured each morning.

Escanaba Public Safety responded to a small fire caused by a lightning strike in the steeple of the vacant Old St. Pat's Church, located at 214 S. 12th St., Escanaba, late Friday afternoon.

According to Public Safety Lt. Marc Zawacki, the fire caused some structural damage to the steeple, and firefighters remained on scene for between one-and-one-half to two hours extinguishing the blaze.

The church building is currently for sale, according to an MLS listing by Coldwell Banker Pro Realty.

Zawacki said there were not a lot of emergency calls due to flooding.

"We didn't get a whole lot of calls for flooding, but I noticed the intersections and streets had a significant amount of water in them," he said.

The chance for precipitation in the Escanaba area was expected to lessen early Friday evening, but cooler temperatures are here to stay in time for the weekend.

"We're expecting autumn-like weather this weekend," said Dutter.

Today's forecast calls for high temperatures in the upper 50s in the Escanaba area, with a slight chance of showers, but otherwise mostly cloudy. For Sunday, high temperatures are expected to reach the lower 60s with more rain in the forecast.



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