Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Weather service confirms weak tornado in Oregon; storm sweeps across Ohio


A large tree fell on the home of Ken and Kelli Gerke on Sugarbush Rd . Kelli was sitting in the room where the tree came down into the house. An overnight storm that swept across the state of Ohio damaged multiple homes in Oregon.

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A weak tornado was responsible for damage to homes and trees in northeast Oregon during a thunderstorm early Wednesday morning, while straight-line winds damaged homes on the east side of Findlay at about the same time, the National Weather Service reported.

No injuries were reported.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view images

The report from the weather service’s Cleveland office estimated at between 65 mph and 85 mph the winds that damaged about 24 properties in Oregon, including “major” damage to one structure.

The twister, given the lowest, EF-0 rating on the Fujita scale, touched down along Eagles Landing Road and traveled northeast to the intersection of James and Lagundovie roads, with a total path of about three-quarters of a mile.

The thunderstorm that raked the Toledo area after midnight was part of a squall line that also caused the damage near Findlay. The weather service said “downburst” winds near 70 mph occurred just south of U.S. 224, near Marion Township Road 237, ripping shingles from 30 to 40 homes.

At the CSX Transportation intermodal terminal west of North Baltimore, meanwhile, several dozen empty freight containers were blown off railcars during the storm.

The weather service said Wednesday afternoon that it had no information about that incident, which was confirmed by CSX.

CSX spokesman Carla Groleau said the incident “briefly delayed” operations at the terminal, but no one was hurt.

There were several reports of possible tornadoes across Ohio overnight.

Winds ripped the roofs of a grocery store and a home improvement store in the western Ohio town of Celina. An official there said Wednesday it appears one of the buildings is a total loss and that falling trees severely damaged several homes. Authorities say it's fortunate that the worst of the storm hit a sparsely populated area of town.

Crews in Ottawa County were busy clearing roadways after the Wednesday morning storm. Authorities said they’re checking with the National Weather Service to determine if the storm produced a tornado.

On County Road 17 the Ottawa County sheriff’s office received a report of a barn roof in the road, and reports of trailer damage and downed telephone poles and trees started coming into the office around 1 a.m.

Authorities said Schau Road in Bay Township was hit the worst in the county.

County Road 53 South, at the county line, and Sand Road in Catawba Island Township are closed until roadways can be cleared.

Hancock County fielded reports of structural damage to homes and uprooted trees as straight-line winds swept through the county, with calls beginning to come in around 1 a.m., dispatchers reported.

The storms have prompted flash flood warnings in parts of Ohio and left more than 55,000 customers without power across the state.

Toledo Edison reported 3,500 customers lost power across the FirstEnergy service area.

OUTAGE MAP: Click here to view FirstEnergy outages

American Electric Power reported 255 customers in western Ohio without power, with 130 of the outages in Spencerville. Restoration was expected by 10 a.m. Wednesday. Spencerville is about 98 miles southwest of Toledo.

Approximately 1,700 AEP customers in the Bucyrus area were without power from 1:22 a.m to 5:15 a.m, the utility reported. Bucyrus is about 85 miles southeast of Toledo.

Jeffrey Sites of the National Weather Service says possible tornadoes were reported in suburban Columbus, the Lima area, and just south of Cincinnati by Wednesday morning.

He says the storms that hit the state shortly before midnight brought 1 to 2 inches of rain to the western and southern parts of the state. That's on top of 1 to 3 inches of rainfall in some areas on Tuesday.

Flash flood warnings were in effect for Butler and Hamilton counties in the Cincinnati area early Wednesday, and more than three dozen counties were under other flood advisories.

Deadly, record-breaking storms have swept the nation in the past few days.

In all, the storm killed 45 people in six states, but North Carolina was by far the hardest-hit.

The tornado that carved through North Carolina's capital killed four children, shuttered a university for the rest of the spring semester and felled the signature trees in the metropolis known as the "City of Oaks."

It was the most active system of tornadoes on record in the state's history, leading to 23 deaths. In Raleigh, one of the nation's fastest-growing cities, the death toll and property damages underscored the massive costs that can be inflicted when a tornado makes a rare venture into areas of dense population.

More than three days after the storm, crews struggled Tuesday to restore electricity and infrastructure there, with a key commuting interstate briefly shut down to fix downed power lines.

READ MORE: North Carolina declared disaster, clears way for federal aid

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