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Published: Thursday, 5/26/2011

Heavy rains drench region

Storms cause little damage to property, few injuries

BLADE STAFF
Toledo sewer worker Al Rose works on a flooded portion of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge. The National Weather Service said 1.73 inches of rain fell on the Toledo area Wednesday. Toledo sewer worker Al Rose works on a flooded portion of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge. The National Weather Service said 1.73 inches of rain fell on the Toledo area Wednesday.
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Dark skies boomed and flashed and dropped sheets of water and golf-ball sized hail Wednesday, but the successive thunderstorms that moved across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan caused little in the way of reported injuries or property damage.

The National Weather Service in Cleveland reported that Wednesday's rainfall on the Toledo area was 1.73 inches.

Toledo police reported plenty of flooded streets, including Sylvania Avenue by Douglas Road; Central Avenue by Powhattan Parkway; the 4300 block of Airport Highway; Airport and Westwood Avenue; Fearing Boulevard and Brown Avenue; Fearing and Hill Avenue; the 4800 block of Douglas Road; and Cherry and Summit streets.

The heavy rain covered a wide area and included multiple lines of storms. The first major line hit Toledo about 1:30 p.m., with a second, stronger line that hovered over the city for a couple of hours starting at about 4 p.m.

A trained weather spotter in Napoleon measured 2.4 inches of rainfall in the Henry County seat. Later, , a Henry County sheriff's dispatcher said that high water was closing roads at the Defiance County line west of Napoleon.

Flooded streets and roads were the norm, along with golf ball-sized hail in locales such as Clyde, Ohio, but authorities said the heavy weather was relatively easy on people and property.

A trucker on southbound I-75 south of Findlay escaped with minor injuries when his rig was knocked over by powerful winds at 4:45 p.m., shutting down the highway for an hour, according to the Bowling Green post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.

In Erie County, a sheriff's deputy spotted a rotating cloud at about 6:30 p.m. west of Monroeville, where hail between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches in size was also reported.

All of northwest Ohio was under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. Most of the counties, including Lucas, were under a severe thunderstorm warning as well. A flood watch remained in effect until 4 a.m. Thursday, according to the weather service.

Findlay had an added worry: Its emergency sirens were not in operating order until about 6:20 p.m.

Toledo Edison reported that the severe weather knocked out power to about 800 of its customers in Wood, Henry, and Defiance counties. By 9 p.m., it had restored service to all but 100 in Henry County.

The thunderstorms even wreaked havoc on the final installment of the Oprah Winfrey Show, which WTOL Channel 11 pre-empted for coverage of the weather. The station will air the show Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, look for more showers and thunderstorms, with highs in the mid 70s and winds of 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night, there will be more of the same, with lows in the low 50s and winds moderating to 5 to 15 mph, forecasters said. Rain is expected to continue through Saturday, with clearing skies and warm temperatures for the remainder of the Memorial Day weekend.



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