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Published: Sunday, 12/21/2008

Toledo area due to be hit by strong wind gusts

BLADE STAFF

Strong winds are expected to whip across the Toledo area Sunday, possibly causing power outages if heavy, ice-coated tree branches snap off and drop onto utility lines.

The National Weather Service Saturday issued a high-wind watch for Sunday into Monday morning.

Below-zero wind chill will rush into the region with the blustery wind, which could exceed 40 mph, creating a double wintery whammy - and a bone-chilling start to the winter season which officially gets under way Sunday.

High winds, combined with low temperatures, will cause wind chills of 10 degrees below zero or lower. The temperature is expected to plummet to single-digit degrees Sunday 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. If a high-wind warning is issued, people should stay indoors and away from windows, according to the National Weather Service.

Windy weather Sunday arrives on the icy heels of a late-autumn storm that coated area communities with a mix of freezing rain and snow, leaving thousands without power. Schools closed, and road and air travel was disrupted. Heavily traveled streets and major highways were clear yesterday, but some roads in the Toledo area remained icy.

As of Saturday afternoon, Toledo Edison had restored power to all customers who experienced storm-related outages, spokesman Gary Keys said.

He said the 16 two-person crews from outside the area who assisted in the repairs following the ice storm will stay at least until today to help with any outages caused by the strong winds.



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