July 24, 2014

Elyria
Mostly cloudy
73°F
test

Gusts damage airport hangars

NEW RUSSIA TWP. – High winds Thursday in Lorain and Elyria caused damage at Lorain County Regional Airport.

Several partially built airplane hangars were reduced to wooden skeletons overnight, but officials say the damage is minor.

Skip Skolnik of Johnwin LCC, which is constructing 12 hangars priced at $108,000 each, said 45 mph gusts knocked down the partially finished trusses and drywall.

“Buildings are made to be big and heavy when they`re finished, but they`re easy to damage when they aren`t done yet,” he said.

Airport Manager Doug McConnell of Johnston Aviation said the wide wallboard caught the wind like a sail and tore loose.

The hangars were only about 15 percent complete, and it will take a week or more to repair the damage, Skolnik said. He couldn`t say Friday what kind of financial damage the wind caused.

“It`s like Tinker Toys. They get knocked down, and at this stage, it`s easy to put them back up,” he said. “It looks worse than it is.”

Construction workers are used to fighting winds, but had difficulty with such heavy gusts several days in a row, Skolnik said.

McConnell said the damage was limited to the new construction. Debris did not make it on to the runway and did not interrupt airport operations.

Airplanes also were safe, Skolnik said. Winds exceeding 65 mph would be necessary to push them around, he said.

The 12 hangars are the first phase of a three-year project at the airport. They will be finished by spring and the others will be done in 2008 and 2009.

When complete, there will be 48 hangars in four buildings.

Six of those hangars already have been sold to private companies, Skolnik said.

The National Weather Service issued another wind advisory Friday afternoon, warning of gusts up to 57 mph.

The agency predicts calm skies today with a high of 35 degrees, but a 90 percent chance of snow and sleet tonight with 1 to 3 inches of accumulation by Sunday morning.

A warm-up is in the forecast Sunday with a high of 47 degrees, but the National Weather Services expects the return of 40-mph winds and periods of mixed rain and snow between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.