ELY – An intense thunderstorm with damaging winds and torrential rains didn’t last long when it struck here Friday evening, about 6:30 p.m. But in a matter of minutes, the storm downed numerous trees and destroyed dozens of artists’ displays assembled in Whiteside Park as the first day of the three-day Blueberry/Art Festival wrapped up. The storm uprooted trees in the park and blew tents and artwork throughout the park and, in some cases, into neighboring yards.
Festival organizers announced late Friday evening that the remaining two days of the festival will not be held as artists and city officials focus on cleanup.
By 8 p.m., the sounds of chainsaws could be heard all over the city as residents started to deal with the damage left behind by the storm.
Ely Police warned residents to stay off the streets as power lines were reported down all over the city. “Due to the severe thunderstorm and damage caused around the Ely area, we are asking the public use caution as there are power lines and trees down,” said Ely Police Chief Chad Houde. “Please avoid these areas. The city of Ely Public Works and Fire departments are out responding to lines and trees down. Please avoid the Whiteside Park area as Blueberry Arts vendors attempt to clean up their booths.”