Woman describes hectic night at Valley County campground

Woman describes hectic night at Valley County campground


by Kelsey Jacobson


Posted on June 29, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 9:18 AM

DONNELLY -- Swirling winds the National Weather Service described as macrobursts hit the SISCRA campground and RV park near Donnelly, Idaho Monday night.  But rather than finding herself shelter, Jan Adams, who camps in her RV at SISCRA, was more concerned with making sure her neighbors were safe.

"It was amazing.  It was around 9 o'clock when the winds started blowing, trees were swaying back and forth, you could hear snapping, popping, trees were coming down.  First tree I saw come down was right across the trail from us, and you could literally hear snapping and popping in a 360 degree circle."

Jan, and dozens of other campers were caught off guard when the strong wind gusts began toppling trees Monday night.

"I ran down, we have a young lady who is here by herself in a tent trailer.  I ran down to her, and made her get out of it and go into the restrooms which are close by, pretty secure buildings made out of cinder blocks."

Next, Jan remembered a family of six she knew were camping in a tent trailer nearby.  She urged them to leave, and find a safer place to seek shelter.  Jan said the woman and her husband went back to her tent trailer quickly to grab a flashlight, and that's when a tree came down, crushing it while they were still inside.  The couple was not injured, but another tree did fall onto their truck as well.

Another camper Jan was walking with was hit by a tree, but he suffered just bumps and bruises.

One man was not so lucky though.  Jan said he was hit by a tree while climbing into his truck.

"He is going to be okay, an ambulance came in and took him," Jan recalled.  "The fire department had to cut a tree or two so they could get the ambulance into the park, the road was blocked by a tree."

Many people at the campground spent the night in the SISCRA rec hall because they didn't feel their RVs or tents were safe.

"Adrenaline was rushing through most of us, going around making sure people were okay.  Most of us were concerned about people in tent trailers, people weren't gonna be safe in them."

Tuesday morning, the campground was closed with no power and no water. 

"We took a walk around the park and were amazed at the number of trees that were down, trees that were still leaning," said Jan Tuesday morning.  "The park is very unsafe at the time, because if we get another windstorm, there are a bunch more trees that will be coming down."

Jan, and others at the campground agree they are lucky -- and the situation Monday night could have been much worse.

"We are lucky that we had just one injury last night, it sent a man to the hospital, but other than that, a few scrapes and bumps and you know we are all just saying it's a miracle there wasn't more people hurt."

You can listen to Jan's entire interview by clicking the video box at the top of this page.