The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, May. 28, 2020

Savage storm causes damage, outages

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

This tree landed square on a residence on North Wayne Street as a storm savaged the county and much of western Ohio on Friday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

It was a massive storm that came suddenly, bringing destruction, large-scale power outages, but — thankfully — few direct casualties.

Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy said the storm, which measured approximately 100 miles wide, packed winds of 80-100 mph and left hundreds of downed trees and utility poles in its wake.

While McCoy stressed that what hit the area was not a tornado, that wasn’t necessarily a blessing, since the destruction and path of the storm was much larger than a tornado’s would have been.

American Electric Power (AEP) is predicting that it would take between 48 and 72 hours to restore power in the county, with priorities being Van Wert County Hospital — which would also open up a portion of the U.S. 127 corridor — and Vancrest Health Care Center — which would be beneficial to the Ervin Road corridor and businesses there.

Van Wert Mayor Don Farmer also noted that there is a chance that a similar storm would hit the area sometime Saturday, bringing more woe to an area already hard-hit by Friday’s storm. Scattered thunderstorms are forecast after midnight, with a few of those storms possibly severe. The chance of rain is 50 percent.

There is also a slighter chance of rain — and possibly severe thunderstorms — most of the day on Saturday.

City workers were busy Friday afternoon trying to clear roadways and streets of downed trees and tree limbs, while emergency workers were called out several times for accidents and other emergency situations.

This downed tree narrowly missed a residence at the corner of Sycamore and Market streets. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The Van Wert County Chapter of the American Red Cross has set up a shelter at Van Wert Middle School complex to house a large number of storm victims who may need shelter, food and other necessities.

The storms had cultural repercussions, as well, as the annual Lima Pops Orchestra’s Fourth of July concert in Fountain Park had to be canceled, as were a number of activities scheduled as part of Old Fashioned Farmers Days. Without power, events may be limited for the weekend.

Meanwhile, with the area business community mostly out of action, beleaguered local residents will likely have an highly uncomfortable weekend, with temperatures expected to climb into the mid-90s again after a brief respite of cool weather blown in by Friday’s storms. High temperature is expected to be 93, with a low of 70, while Sunday’s high temperature is forecast at 95, with a low of 72. Monday brings a slight cooling, with a high of 91 forecast, with a low of 72.

POSTED: 06/30/12 at 2:32 am. FILED UNDER: News