By Shelley Grieshop
COLDWATER -- A sudden wind burst of 60 to 65 mph and a downpour sent local sun worshippers scampering for cover Sunday evening as a severe thunderstorm moved across the region.
A storm front pushing through the Grand Lake area about 7 p.m. and sent hundreds of people running to their vehicles and a nearby church basement at the Knights of Columbus Picnic in Coldwater.
A large crowd also were left scrambling for cover along Lake Shore Drive in Celina after only a few songs were played during the concert in the park series, officials said.
"There were definitely some high winds and a little hail in that mix," said Jeffrey Sites, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
No major damage was reported locally. Local weather forecaster Dennis Howick said the Grand Lake area received a much-needed .65 inch of rain. Sheriff's departments in Mercer and Auglaize counties reported few problems following the wrath of the storm. Several trees apparently fell in west and east Auglaize County, however, no major damage was reported to dispatchers at the sheriff's department.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were broadcast at 6:50 p.m. and 7:43 p.m. Sunday as the storm front moved in from the west to the east.
"Instead of moving from the south-southwest, this one arrived from the west, part of a wind direction shift that is continuing out of the area today," Sites said.
Temperatures climbed to a sultry 90 degrees before the storm Sunday and are expected to return to that mark nearly every day this week.
"And with those warm temperatures we're likely to see pop-up showers during the heat of the day," Sites said.
Monte Diegel, the 911 coordinator for Mercer County, said several community fire departments reported small hail mixed with Sunday's rainfall. Short power outages also were noted, he added.
Diegel said the new Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS), a statewide radio system that was recently implemented to the county's 911 service, keeps emergency crews in direct contact with the National Weather Service.
"It really helps us give and get critical information," he added.
Quarter-size hail fell in portions of Darke County, but no major damage or injuries were reported there either, Sites said