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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

Strong winds buffet region, knock out power, uproot trees

Wind gusts of up to 58 mph yesterday brought down trees, wires, even utility poles, around northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Winds will be gusty, although not as strong, through this afternoon, forecasters say, but temperatures will be about 15 degrees cooler.

Toledo Edison reported about 10,000 customers without power by 6:15 last night, but crews had restored electricity to all but about 1,000 by

10 p.m., said Chuck Krueger, vice president of external affairs. In Michigan, Detroit Edison reported about 145,000 without power, and Consumers Energy reported 104,000 outages, many of them in western Michigan.

Winds began to pick up after 1 p.m. Sustained winds from the southwest reached 44 mph at Toledo Express Airport, where the strongest gust was 58 mph. A gust of 52 mph was recorded at Hillsdale Municipal Airport.

A cold front from the northern plains swept in yesterday morning, bringing morning showers followed by strong winds, said Alan Reppert, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., a private forecasting service in State College, Pa. The afternoon sun helped send strong winds, which usually stay well aloft, down to earth, he said.

"It is quite abnormal that winds aloft and at the surface have matched up so well," Mr. Reppert said.

The high temperature at Toledo Express was 75 - 2 degrees shy of the record set in 1971. The high temperature of 75 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport was a degree short of the record of 76 set in 1999. The normal Oct. 30 high for Toledo is 56, although last year's high was 73.

Highs today should be in the upper 50s. A chance of rain and highs in the mid-50s tomorrow and Tuesday will follow a storm system moving in from the Mississippi Valley, Mr. Reppert said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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