Winds that approached 80 mph caused wide-spread property damage and power outages in Ashtabula County Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland.
Numerous homes and vehicles were damaged and a few completely destroyed by downed trees when the storm produced a microburst around 7 a.m. — mostly in an area between Lake Erie and Route 90, according to reports.
A microburst is an intense small-scale downdraft produced by a thunderstorm or rain shower, according to the NWS.
“A microburst can easily be mistaken for a tornado,” said Sarah Jamison, a meteorologist with the NWS in Cleveland. “Ashtabula County received some pretty strong straight-line winds which can damage roofs and down trees.”
No serious injuries were reported.
Ashtabula City Manager Jim Timonere said there were more than 15,000 people without power on Sunday. He had city workers cleaning up branches and debris from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and expects the work to continue throughout the week.
About 200 First Energy customers were still without power Monday afternoon, with power not expected to return until 11 p.m. Monday, according to the company’s web site.
Ashtabula Area City schoolchildren got an extra day of summer vacation Monday when power outages delayed the start of the 2019-20 school year, Superintendent Mark Potts said.
“We are really excited to get the school year started and we are anticipating a great year. That being said, we want to get the year started right,” he said. “Unfortunately, due
to the storms that passed through our area Sunday morning, many of our students are still without power and some have let me know they still don’t have the ability to shower.”
Several of the district’s seven schools were without power until Sunday night and all of the systems were not fully functioning by Monday morning, he said.
Although the district’s freezers were on generator power, a lot of food was lost and Potts was afraid they would have difficulty feeding everyone.
“With all of those factors playing into it, we decided to wait another day and start on Tuesday,” he said.
“I would much rather have everything in order and start the year well.”