Tornado, winds rip through area

Zoe Greszler • Updated Nov 6, 2017 at 11:15 PM

Clarification: As of 6:13 p.m. First Energy reported 994 were without power and Firelands Electric reported three, down from a combined 7,000 at the peak of the storm Sunday,"

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The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down in the area Sunday evening.

However, high winds are being blamed for much of the damage.

Huron County’s new EMA director, Arthur Mead, said this area saw quite a bit of wind damage. It is unknown yet if there was a tornado in the county, or just straight-line winds. Mead said there were “a lot” of power lines and trees down.

“The state of Ohio has a salt shed on the outskirts of Norwalk and I know a couple barns lost their roofs,” he said. “There was a report of a trailer that was knocked on its side and rolled a ways. … I heard the people inside the trailer were transported to the hospital.”

Mead said he wasn’t aware of any injuries that resulted from the incident.

As of 6:13 p.m. First Energy reported 997 were without power, down from 7,000 at the peak of the storm Sunday.

“Wakeman got hit pretty good,” he said. “Wakeman still has the largest amount of people without power because they had several transformers taken out.” 

Local residents suffered some property damage.

Dale Smith, lost grain bins on Ohio 162 just west of Steuben.

“Totally destroyed them. They can’t be used,” he said.

“I have grain in both of them. I have to get it out. I could hear a grumbling noise and then it got calm, like a thundering noise that lasted four minutes. I live two miles from here and I could hear it. A lot of the neighbors in Steuben said they could hear it.”

Roger Welsh said he lost about 100 trees from his home at 1700 N. Ridge Road, just south of Hasbrock Road.

“We went to the basement and it was quiet,” Welsh said. “I’d say at least 100 (trees). It was thick through there.”

But he was thankful it was only the trees he lost.

“I think the trees saved the house. They caught the wind,” he said.

Troopers with the Norwalk post of the state Highway Patrol investigated about 10 crashes over the weekend in addition to number of weather-related incidents Sunday, including fallen trees that obstructed roadways. However, due to the volume of paperwork associated with those accident reports, details were unavailable Monday evening.

The Huron County Sheriff’s Office investigated five traffic accidents between 4 and 10 p.m. Deputies also handled eight hazard-related calls and one welfare check during that same time frame.

Norwalk firefighters also cleared debris, evaluated storm damage and made dangerous areas secure. Sunday’s fire reports included these incidents:

• U.S. 20 just east of Norwalk was closed from about 5:30 to 7 p.m. due to downed power lines.

• On Ohio 61 North, a tree landed on a 500-gallon propane tank, causing it to leak.

• A utility pole on Ohio 18 near North Greenwich Milan Townline Road caught fire.

• Firefighters went to Ridge Road after receiving a report about a tree in the road. They discovered 20 to 30 trees down.

In Erie County, Sheriff Paul Siggsworth said all roads have been re-opened, though crews remain in Oxford Township continuing to aid in cleanup efforts, where a tornado reportedly did touch down.

“Our EMA director and the National Weather Services said there was a tornado in the Mason Road and Ransom Road area in Oxford Township. There was a tornado,” Siggsworth said. “Allegedly the damage in Castalia, though, was caused by straight line winds. The clean up is ongoing and Firelands Electric is working on getting power restored.”

It was unknown how many remained without power in Erie County as of Monday night.

Now that cooler weather has settled in, the threat of tornadoes and powerful straight-line winds aren’t expected for a little while.

“The National Weather Service does not feel this will be a common occurrence, however. This is Ohio,” he said.

Still, residents should remain alert and take precautions to keep themselves safe. 

“Pay attention to your weather. The sirens were going off and so you need to be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on. They were predicting Sunday’s storms to be bad for (a few days), so it’s important to pay attention to your local weather station too.”

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