Monday, June 9, 2003

Storm injures several at concert


High winds, heavy rain disrupt Tristate events

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A line of severe thunderstorms on Sunday knocked down power lines, tipped over trees and left 15 to 20 people slightly injured when a tent collapsed at a Sparta, Ky., concert.

Wind and rain snapped a tent pole at the Country Stampede concert at the Kentucky Speedway about 2:15 p.m. Sunday, causing a large tent over one of the concert stages to partially collapse on a crowd of hundreds trying to flee the downpour.

One woman in a neck brace was taken away by ambulance. None of the injured was identified, but their injuries were not life threatening, said Wayne Rouse, general manager of the three-day country music concert.

"Most of (the tent) stayed up, but we're going to go ahead and take it down anyway," Rouse said shortly after the collapse.

The Stampede, which started about noon, was delayed for about 90 minutes by weather, Rouse said. Sunday was the final day of the event, which was expected to draw between 25,000 and 30,000 people each day.

A cold front rolling from the west in caused the afternoon storms, which ended by early evening, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Myron Padgett. Today's forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with highs in the mid-70s.

About 2,000 households in Clermont and Brown counties, Crittenden, Ky., and scattered communities in Hamilton County lost power Sunday afternoon. All were expected to have power restored Sunday evening, a Cinergy spokesman said. Hail and downed trees also were reported in some parts of the Tristate.

In Madeira, winds blew a large inflatable slide from a festival at St. Gertrude's into the parking lot, leaving one car with minor damage, police said. At times, visibility on Tristate roads was about 20 feet during torrential rain that ultimately dumped less than 1 inch of precipitation.

The storm also delayed Sunday's Reds game, which had been slated to start at 1:15 p.m. The team finally took on the Toronto Blue Jays after 4 p.m.

But by game time, many people, including Brad Miller of Lancaster, had already left Great American Ball Park. Lancaster made the 21/2-hour trek to Cincinnati for a 4-year-old's birthday party at the game, but said the wait tired the kids.

Andrea Uhde and Chris Varius contributed to this story. E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com

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