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Thunderstorms hit C.O. with lightning, hail, heavy rain


(Update: Details on three Sisters-area homes damaged by lightning)

Intense thunderstorms rocked and rolled through much of the High Desert late Tuesday afternoon, bringing long periods of heavy rain as well as hail, thunder and lightning that hit homes and trees, knocking out power to thousands.

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District said three structures and surrounding trees were damaged by lightning.

Shortly before 3 p.m., a homeowner on Peterson Burn Road south of town reported smelling smoke in the main house on her property and a second structure there, an Airbnb occupied by renters, had a direct strike that reportedly knocked everything off the walls.

Firefighters found damage to both homes but no active fire.

A short time later, a homeowner on East Coyote Springs Road reported lightning struck their home. Damage was limited to the front entry roof and structural beams.

In both incidents, firefighters checked for hot spots with a thermal imaging camera and advised residents to be aware of any suspicious odors or electrical problems.

Central Electric Cooperative reported about 3,300 customers lost power for about a half-hour starting around 3 p.m. in parts of Sisters as well as Black Butte Ranch, Tollgate and nearby areas.

On the north end of Bend, another lightning bolt apparently set a tree on fire near the Oregon State Police office off Poe Sholes Drive. Other area residents reported lightning-related issues from an electrical smell to blown-out power outlets.

The downpours caused high water on some Bend-area roads such as O.B. Riley Road, while marble-sized hail pelted areas near Prineville Reservoir.

Madras carrot seed farmer Richard Colman said a half-hour thunderstorm dumped 2 1/2 inches of rain in five minutes, flooding his field, along with half-inch hail.

But residents in other areas escaped the storms, as residents in Redmond and Powell Butte, among others, reported dry conditions and the sound of distant thunder.

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