December 20, 2014

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Ohio storms trigger tornado warnings

Black River High School suffers roof damage

An umbrella barely keeps a pedestrian dry as she crosses Middle Avenue. 

GRAFTON — Severe weather swept through the southern portion of the county Thursday afternoon without causing any major damage.

In Ashland County, the roof of Black River High School was blown off, according to sheriff’s Capt. Terry Hamilton.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at 4:15 p.m. for Lorain County after receiving reports that a tornado touched down in Grafton.

Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Bray said although reports of a tornado haven’t been verified, the thunderstorm that was
12 miles south of Elyria was a powerful one.

“That storm has kept us busy all night,” he said. “We’ll have to have some trained professionals go down to the area tomorrow to examine any possible damage before we can verify that a tornado actually touched down or just showed up on radar.”

Grafton police said they hadn’t received any reports of damage, and the only thing Grafton Fire Chief John Cutter could confirm was that the storm rolled through.

“We had a pretty good rain and an alert,” he said. “But that’s it. Not even a downed power line.”

Heavy rain and downed power lines were also reported in the area.

Multiple reports of tornadoes were scattered across northern Ohio as a cold front pushed its way east with heavy rains and winds.

Witnesses reported that a tornado struck the Dofasco Copperweld plant in the north-central Ohio town of Shelby, said Mayor Jim Henkel. But National Weather Service investigators had not confirmed the touchdown, Bray said.

Henkel said the roof of the plant, which makes steel pipe and tubular products, was damaged and walls were blown down, but there were no reports of any injuries. He said the storm also moved cars in the parking lot and blew out car windows.

Power lines also were down, Henkel said.

On the brighter side, the front brought with it a forecast of sun with temperatures in the mid 80’s for the area Friday and Saturday.