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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

High winds down limbs, cause power disruptions

Strong winds swept across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan last night, downing tree limbs and utility poles and causing scattered power outages for more than 7,000 area electric customers.

Westerly winds of 43 mph, with gusts to 51 mph, were recorded by the National Weather Service in Lima, Ohio. Adrian had winds of 30 mph, with gusts of 46 mph. Winds of 33 mph, with gusts of 47 mph, were recorded at Toledo Express Airport.

Authorities reported the partial collapse of a vacant two-story building at 25 South Huron St., near Washington Street, in downtown Toledo about 9:15 p.m. No injuries were reported.

Bricks from the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, littered the sidewalk. The structure formerly housed Toledo Sign Co., and was undergoing renovation to become the Huron Street Night Club.

Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park and about 4,000 homes around it lost power shortly before 9 p.m. when winds knocked tree limbs onto power lines, Gary Mortus, a Toledo Edison spokesman, said.

About 2,300 customers in Oak Harbor, Ohio and 870 customers in Waterville lost power. Other outages affected the Oatis Avenue-Monroe Street area, the Secor-Alexis roads area, and areas in Sylvania, Oregon, Maumee, and Metamora, Ohio. “As soon as we clear the trees and set the circuits, they ll all come back up,” Mr. Mortus said.

The weather service warned that conditions were ripe for possible tornadoes yesterday.

But the apparent worst was 51 mph wind gusts in Lima, heavy rain in some areas, and one-inch hail in McComb, Ohio.

The high winds were triggered by circulation around an intense low pressure system moving across Ontario, said Bob Larson, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, Inc., a private forecasting service.

That system pushed a strong cold front across southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.

Winds of 20 mph to 40 mph will continue from the west, then the northwest, with some gusts exceeding 50 mph, Mr. Larson said.

Wind gusts will lessen this afternoon and especially after sunset. Even then, there will be a noticeable breeze, Mr. Lawson said.

Passing flurries could lead to a dusting of snow, he said, with a high of 38 and a low of 25.

Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high of 43.



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