no avatar

Huron Co. escapes worst

Scott Seitz • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:51 PM

Mother Nature showed Huron County her angry side Thursday afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for this county about 4 p.m. but no confirmed tornadoes touched down, said Bill Ommert, Huron County Emergency Management Agency director.

Surrounding counties were not as fortunate.

Thousands of homes and businesses in Marion were still without power this morning after those strong thunderstorms that moved across the state a day before, killing one person, authorities said.

Most of the damage centered on north-central Ohio, as the storm system swept through the area. The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado struck Shelby at about 4 p.m., ripping the roof off a factory and downing trees. There were no injuries reported.

Officials on Friday were investigating tornado sightings in Wayne, northern Ashland and southern Medina counties, according to Jim Kosarik, a meteorologist with the agency in Cleveland.

Witnesses reported that the tornado in Shelby struck the Dofasco Copperweld plant, said Mayor Jim Henkel. The roof of the plant, which makes steel pipe and tubular products, was damaged and walls were blown down.

The plant resumed operations Friday. The company would use a scheduled shutdown next week to repair the damage, said Victor Riva, human resources manager for Dofasco Copperweld.

Henkel said the storm also moved cars in the parking lot and blew out car windows.

Power lines also were down, he said.

In Marion, a falling tree limb smashed the roof of a Chevrolet Trailblazer being driven by Shawna Stevens in the residential neighborhood where she lived. Stevens, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

In Ashland County, the roof of Black River High School was blown off, according to sheriff's Capt. Terry Hamilton. "We've got trees down every place," Hamilton added. Heavy rain and downed power lines were also reported in the area.

"I was driving through Richland County at the time and saw what happened down there," Ommert said. "It was very nasty. There were high winds and weird wall clouds."

Ommert said Huron County there was a tree down on Graham Road and various limbs down around the county. "There was also some water on a couple roads," he added.

Ommert said the tornado warning was issued based on a report from Delphi, which is located at the intersection of U.S. 224 and New State Road.

"Our spotters were out, but couldn't spot one," Ommert added.

Ommert said he received reports of people hearing tornado sirens around the county and immediately running outside.

"When the tornado sirens go off take cover or get inside," he said.

Norwalk received 1.32 inches of rain from Thursday through early today, according to the Norwalk Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"It seems Mother Nature is making up for it," Ommert said of the recent rainfall.

The storms cause widespread outages for Firelands Electric Co-op also.

The storms moved through Huron, Ashland and Richland counties late yesterday afternoon causing several power outages across Firelands Electric's system. Most outages were due to lightning strikes and trees falling. About 425 members had their electric service interrupted.

Firelands' line crews worked throughout Thursday night to repair the damage and power was restored to all Firelands members by 6:30 a.m. today.

Ohio Edison parent FirstEnergy Corp. had as many as 100,000 customers lose power statewide on Thursday, but the problems were most severe in Marion, he said.

About 6,100 Ohio Edison customers in Marion were still without power Friday, down from a high of 9,500 after the storms hit, said spokesman Mark Durbin a spokesman for the company, one of at least three that provide power to the city. He said the utility hoped to have service completely restored by Saturday evening.

"The storm tore up a lot of trees, so we have to bring in additional forestry crews to clear out all the trees first, before we can get people working on the lines," Durbin said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Recommended for You