|08-27-03: Severe thunderstorm causes
damage in area
| By SHELLEY GRIESHOP
High winds ripped through portions of Mercer and Auglaize counties
Tuesday evening leaving a trail of downed trees and power lines
throughout the city of St. Marys and surrounding areas.
No injuries were reported in the storm that brought tornado warnings
to the Grand Lake St. Marys area between 6 and 7 p.m., causing
officials to activate emergency sirens. Although most of the wind
damage appeared to be minor, officials in northern Auglaize County
reported various degrees of property damage to barns and a few
homes in the area near the lake.
Mike Weadock, safety service director for the city of St. Marys,
said he watched a neighbor’s tree fall while huddled in
his basement with grandchildren.
“The storm took out
a lot of trees in our community. We’ll be cleaning this
up for days,” he added.
Weadock said one of the city’s police officers was near
the U.S. 33/Ohio 29 intersection when the brunt of the storm hit.
“He said it rained so hard he couldn’t see the hood
of his car,” Weadock said, adding the storm appeared to
take a path along U.S. 33.
“Significant wind damage
with winds exceeding 58 mph, and in some areas much higher, was
recorded throughout the St. Marys and Celina areas,” said
Sam McNeil, a meteorologist and program manager for the National
Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington.
The NWS has no indication a tornado passed through the local area,
even though a tornado sighting was confirmed in Allen County south
of Lima. Dime-size hail was reported near the Moulton area in
Auglaize County and in Van Wert County earlier in the day.
St. Marys Police Chief Kerry Roode said dispatchers handled numerous
calls from residents reporting property damage due to fallen trees.
“There were two reports of branches down on cars, but thankfully
no one was injured,” he said.
Roode said there appeared to be no specific area of damage. “It
was pretty much everywhere,” he added.
From 1 to 3 inches of rain fell throughout portions of the local
area before dusk, although there were areas in both counties that
received little or no rain all day.
Scattered power outages were reported in both Mercer and Auglaize
counties keeping crews from St. Marys Utilities, Midwest Electric
and Dayton Power & Light out most of the night. Nearly all
homes and businesses had power restored at press time today, officials
Jerry Wolfe, electrical systems superintendent for the city of
St. Marys, this morning said fallen branches accounted for most
of the problems.
“About two-thirds of the city was out
of power by 7 (p.m.),” Wolfe said. “We saw a lot of
heavy branches lying on lines and taking them down.”
Wolfe said power was restored to the majority of customers after
four hours. Additional line crews were called in from the villages
of Minster and New Bremen.
The storm left several hundred Dayton Power & Light customers
in the dark, but all electric was restored by early this morning,
said spokesman Bryce Nickel. The area around the lake including
St. Marys Township appeared to get hit the worst he added.
Jeff Severns, electrical superintendent for Celina Utilities,
confirmed the Highland Park area experienced numerous branches
down and lying on power lines. However, most city customers were
without power for no more than 30 minutes, he said.
hit two transformers on (U.S.) 127 North but it only affected
a few dozen homes,” Severns added.
A chance of showers and thunderstorms is forecast for the area
today and again Thursday through Sunday, the NWS reported.
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