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Published: Saturday, 12/20/2008

Strong winds pose threat

BLADE STAFF

Strong winds are expected to rake the Toledo area Sunday, possibly causing power outages if tree branches, laden with ice from Friday's storm, topple onto utility lines.

Two men, one from northwest Ohio and the other from southeast Michigan, have died in apparent weather-related incidents.

Near Convoy in Van Wert County, an 84-year-old man whose power was knocked out by the storm is believed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning from an electric generator he was operating in his garage.

The body of J.C. Junior Duncan was found at about 5:30 p.m. Friday by family members, according to Convoy Fire Chief Don Wilson.

Dr. Scott Jarvis, Van Wert County coroner, said the generator was operated in a closed garage and probably led to carbon monoxide poisoning.

In Hillsdale County, Michigan, Jason Sebolt, 27, of Hillsdale, died at about 9 p.m. Friday after his snowmobile collided head on with a vehicle, sheriff s deputies said.

The snowmobile was southbound in the northbound lane of Lake Pleasant Road when the collision occurred. The three teenaged occupants of the other vehicle were not injured.

The Lucas County Coroner s Office will perform autopsies Monday on the bodies of Mr. Sebolt and Mr. Duncan.

A high wind watch has been issued by the National Weather Service, starting midmorning Sunday through early Monday afternoon for Lucas, Ottawa, and Erie counties in Northwest Ohio. Winds could exceed 40 mph.

Rushing into the region with the wind: below-zero wind chill and a frigid start to the winter season which officially begins Sunday.

A wind-chill advisory is in effect from 9 a.m. Sunday through 1 p.m. Monday for Hillsdale County in Michigan, and Williams, Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, and Allen counties in Northwest Ohio.

The high winds, in combination with low temperatures, could cause wind chills of minus-10 degrees or lower. The temperature is expected to fall to 10 degrees Sunday afternoon and then into single digits at night.

People planning to spend time outdoors, perhaps wrapping up their holiday shopping, are reminded to bundle up and cover exposed skin to prevent frostbite.

Winter begins just after a late autumn storm pelted northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan with a wintry mix of freezing rain and snow, leaving thousands without power. Area school children got a snow day as classes were called off, and weather conditions disrupted road and air travel.

Some roads in the Toledo area remained ice-covered and slippery Saturday night.

All Toledo Edison customers with storm-related outages were back in service by Saturday afternoon, utility spokesman Gary Keys said.

The 16 two-person crews from outside the area which assisted in the repairs after the ice storm earlier in the week will stay at least until Sunday to help with any outages caused by the strong winds, he said.

Most American Electric Power Ohio customers in northwest Ohio have had power restored.

At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, there were 714 AEP customers in the Paulding area and 821 in the Van Wert area without power.

Estimated restoration of 95 percent for both areas is by midnight Saturday and for all of the customers in both areas by noon Sunday, according to a spokesman for the AEP Ohio-Western Ohio district.

There were about 26,000 customers without power in the immediate aftermath of Friday's weather.



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