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Trinity storm 'more exciting' than Mount St. Helens, resident says

By Ronnie Thomas 340-2438

TRINITY — Steve Cartee, who lives on four acres on South Seneca Drive, believes he had a ringside seat Tuesday to the storm that entered Trinity, which meteorologist Patrick Gatlin said originated between Moulton and Courtland about 10:30 a.m. and moved to the northeast.

"I was mucking the pasture and heard a sound like an ocean wave," Cartee said.

"I heard a tree snap on the property next door. When I turned around to look, the clouds didn't look right. They were actually swirling."

Cartee said he saw a darker section of clouds "spinning out of the sky and falling behind the tree line."

He said his five horses normally "will eat in the rain, wind and in thunder and lightning. When they hit the barn running, that got my attention. They sensed something was up. Then I heard something that sounded like a small explosion, and debris filled the air up high."

He said he banged on the door and told his girlfriend, Charlene Arnold, to come and look.

"I told her Pettey's Machine Shop just got nailed," he said. She noted, "It looked like there was far more debris than there actually was."

Cartee, who once lived in the Northwest, said he watched Mount St. Helens erupt from the Oregon side of the Snake River, at Klamath Falls, on May 18, 1980.

"At the time it blew, I lived in Kennewick, Wash.," he said. "Volcanic ash covered my house about one-half inch deep, but it didn't do any damage to it.

"But this was more exciting," he said.

"I saw (the storm) form, destruct and disappear. It was like a mini-movie."

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