NOAA Graphical Forecast image depicting wind gusts in the Eastern Great Lakes region. This graphic was generated today at 2:23 p.m.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE Enlarge
High winds are causing problems across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan today, with trees down, power lines down, overturned vehicles, and other accidents.
The Veterans’ Glass City Skyway bridge was closed in both directions because of high winds. However, a tweet posted by the Ohio Department of Transportation shortly before 9:30 p.m. said the agency had just reopened the I-280 Veterans Glass City Skyway Bridge in both directions.
It was closed for much of the day because of unusually strong winds.
“I-280 VGCS bridge NB and SB is now open, winds have lowered to safe speeds. Drive carefully, our lives depend on it!” ODOT’s tweet states.
And thousands in the region are still left without power, prompting a health system to volunteer housing to southeastern Michigan residents beginning at 7:30 tonight.
Those who live near ProMedica Herrick Hospital and ProMedica Bixby Hospital can have access to cots and restrooms for as long as needed, hospital leaders said. Residents near Bixby are asked to report to the Merrillat Center, while those near Herrick should go to the basement conference room near that’s hospital’s cafeteria.
More than 16,000 people in Lucas County were without power this afternoon, according to Toledo Edison’s outage report. The number quickly reduced throughout the afternoon, and dropped below 10,000 later in the day.
The near downtown Toledo Skyway bridge was closed today around 11:30 a.m., according to Toledo police. Before the bridge was closed, a tractor-trailer overturned in the southbound lanes.
Larry Stevens, age and address unknown, the driver of the tractor-trailer, had minor cuts to his head and was transported by ambulance to St. Charles Hospital for evaluation, police said.
The empty tractor-trailer was on its side across the inside two lanes, according to police. Mr. Stevens told police when he got to the top of the bridge, the force of the strong winds blew his vehicle onto its side.
One Government Center was closed to the public this afternoon as well. Officials cited “extreme winds and the potential for flying debris.”
Orange barricades blocked the front of the building's plaza and yellow caution tape marked the entrances. Security told workers if they reentered and left, they could not return.
The building was still deemed safe and employees were encouraged to work until the conclusion of their shifts. The Democracy Day event set for 4 p.m. is canceled while the Toledo International Women's Day Rally was moved nearby to 555 Erie St.
The reason for the high winds is that northwest Ohio is stuck between two pressure systems, and the warmer temperatures are also contributing to the near 60 mile per hour wind gusts, said Mark Adams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“We’ve got a low pressure system to the north, and a high pressure system to the south, and we’re caught right between the two,” he said.
Mr. Adams said stronger winds located in the atmosphere are being brought down by the heat of the day. If it were a cloudy day, those winds wouldn’t have been able to come down as much, he added.
Winds at the Toledo Airport reached 59 miles per hour, and Findlay reached the low 60s, Mr. Adams said.
He expects winds to gradually come down throughout the evening hours.
Emergency services crews were stretched to their capacity with weather-related calls.
The Toledo fire department has had numerous reports of weather-related problems, including several calls of wire down, said fire spokesman Ptv. Sterling Rahe.
Firefighters responded to a structure fire in the 2100 block of Forest Avenue due to downed power lines, Private Rahe said.
Students at Lake Local Schools are also without power, according to a school secretary.
All three schools lost power around noon, she said.
Classes will continue as usual, she said.
A statement from the University of Michigan said this afternoon the men's basketball team plane was involved in an accident.
It attempted to take off during high winds, aborted the takeoff, and slid off the runaway after strong braking. The plane had extensive damage but no one was injured.
The team is set to play Illinois on Thursday in Washington at the Big Ten Tournament.
Toledo police are responding on Phase 2, which means they are responding to injury crashes only.
A travel ban was in effect — but was later canceled — on the Ohio Turnpike from the Ohio/Indiana line milepost to the 161.0 eastbound and westbound milepost area due to high winds.
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