Microburst leaves significant damage at Edinburgh cemetery

Large trees came down during the storm.
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Tuesday's storms were brief, and some were powerful. The one that hit Edinburgh without warning left families trying to bury loves ones and checking on others in a tough spot today.

Initial reports focused on the sensational demolition of the grandstand at the Edinburgh Sports Complex, but when the sun came up today, that was not where residents were flocking to.

It was over in a matter of seconds. But the power of the microburst was caught on tape. You can see it blowing this trash can down the street, pushing over a swing in Edinburgh. Still, that is tame compared to what happened at Rest Haven Cemetery.

Even roads blocked by downed trees and a pouring rain couldn't keep visitors away.

Patricia Smith was just returning from the long trek to the very back of the cemetery.

"Is that the first thing you thought of when you heard about this, this morning?" we asked her.

"Yes. Yep. My Dad," she said as she clutched an umbrella under a heavy downpour.

They wanted to make sure their family gravestones were not damaged. Fortunately Patricia Smith said her father's marker was okay.

"My dad passed away in January and the rest of our family is back there so I was just making sure his headstone was okay. It missed his whole area. So it's good but I feel for a lot of them out there," Smith observed.

She was anxious to share that news with her mother.

"I went back and checked on my Dad's headstone," she said. 

Anthony Elmore said he noticed a lot of trees down. He spoke to Eyewitness News underneath the protection of the one of the few trees that remained standing.

Like Patricia Smith, he was anxious to get the pictures he took sent to his mother and his sisters.

"Just wondering if anything was going on, on his grave or whatever. Just thinking about him. All the flowers have blown over. I straightened it up," Elmore added.

Cemetery employees had more work than they could handle. They had to prepare for an afternoon funeral in the pouring rain and get the roads cleared in time to make sure the family could have access to the grave site.

The leaning trees that line the roadway will have to be dealt with at another time.

"It is going to take quite a while to get all these cleared up because underneath those trees. They don't know if the tombstones were damaged until they get these cut up and removed," said Stephanie Sichting, Johnson County Emergency Management.

Just up the street, the twisted rubble of the home grandstand at the High School Sports complex is a total loss as well.

Residents in Edinburgh say the storm was over almost as soon as it started and fortunately no lives were lost. That is the good news, especially since a microburst does not leave time to warn people.