A microburst spewing winds estimated at 95 mph — rather than a tornado — ripped apart a Columbus warehouse complex during Wednesday afternoon’s violent storm.
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington made the determination yesterday after inspecting storm damage near I-270 and I-70 on the West Side.
The winds peeled off roofs and gouged out chunks of walls of at least fourl businesses about 4 p.m. Wednesday. Six people were slightly injured.
The winds raked a path of damage about 500 yards wide and a half-mile long, according to the storm assessment that was based on the debris pattern and eyewitness accounts.
The microburst winds were more powerful than the 65-85 mph winds produced by a weak tornado. A microburst is a powerful downdraft of high winds from the base of a violent storm.
The winds eased elsewhere across Columbus, but a 71-mph gust was measured at Port Columbus as the storm swept through the area, downing trees and power lines and causing other damage.
About 24,800 AEP customers throughout Ohio remained without power this morning. About 152,000, including more than 50,000 in central Ohio, who initially lost electricity.
Customers without power in Franklin County were whittled to 3,738 by 10 a.m. today, while 203 stayed dark in Fairfield County. An additional 189 customers still had no power in Licking County.
AEP said the high winds caused extensive damage to its power grid, and the utility called in 800 out-of-state workers and contractors to help with repairs.
Among the remaining outages, AEP said that southwestern Columbus would be restored by noon today, followed by southeastern Columbus by 6 p.m. today. The Newark area should back on the grid by 11 p.m. today, while some customers in the Lancaster area may have to wait until midnight Saturday for power to be restored.
By Randy Ludlow - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at www.dispatch.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services