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St. Mary’s of the Hills Episcopal Church in Blowing Rock Loses Huge Maple Tree in Front Lawn


St. Mary’s of the Hills Episcopal Church in Blowing Rock lost their 100 year old maple tree last night at around 10:00 p.m. when winds associated with Topical Storm Florence blew the tree over into the front lawn of the church. Although one large branch hit the roof near the bell tower that cause a gutter to come loose, no structural damage has been found. Morning church services proceeded on schedule Sunday morning. The church has been celebrating its centennial this year, and church members have discussed that the tree was probably planted during the time the church was being built. Jim Brooks, a member of the church stated that after viewing the tree this morning, it was pretty evident how rotten the tree core had become. “Our church just had the front doors painted red as is the tradition for Episcopal churches, so with that big maple tree now gone, you’ll really be able to see those red doors,” said Brooks.

As of noon today, Ray’s Weather Website is showing that Boone has received 1.23 inches of rain so far since midnight. Wind speed has been averaging around 25 mph with a high wind gust of 34 mph at 2:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service is reporting that Tropical Depression Florence will pass over Western North Carolina this evening and a flash flood watch remains in place through Monday evening. 2 to 6 inches of rain are expected, with locally higher amounts of 8 to 10 inches or more possible, especially along the Blue Ridge south of Roanoke and into northwest North Carolina. Rainfall of more than five inches in similar storms has been associated with an increased risk of landslides.

Chainsaw crews were on hand this morning to begin cutting up the fallen tree. These pictures are from 11:00 this morning.


These pictures show the tree from this past winter