Turner Falls Reopens After Campers Ride Out The Storms

Sunday, May 28th 2017, 7:11 pm
By: News 9

Visitors crowded back into Turner Falls Park after Saturday’s storms forced the park to shut down.

About 4,500 campers were inside the park when they found themselves in the direct path of a possible tornado.

“It was very scary,” said Cecilia Avalos, a camper at Turner Falls.

This was the first camping trip for Avalos.

“It was like raining thunderstorms and lightning struck right behind me. I ducked real quick inside the tent,” said Hedy Avalos, Cecilia Avalos’ daughter.

The family was among thousands inside Turner Falls park Saturday night when storms started to roll in. Then, a tornado touched down in Ringling, southwest of the park.

“It was a little touch and go last night with the amount of people we had that did stay,” said Billy Standifer, Turner Falls park manager. “We actually have bath houses we use as storm shelters and a lot of them moved to those areas.”

At daylight, campers tried to resume their holiday weekend as park officials surveyed the area for damage.

“A few of our campers lost their tents but other than that the park itself no damage,” said Standifer.

While some campers planned to stay on through the holiday, others had to wait until the waters to recede just enough to cross the roadways to exit the park. As for the Avalos family, they decided to grill one last meal before heading out. 

The park reopened about 2 p.m. Sunday but the two swimming areas will remain closed until Monday.