Straight Line Winds or Tornado?
When the sun is shining with clear blue skies during the day, the evening weather can change in a matter of minutes. Approximately 4:30 pm on Thursday May 18, 2017 an unconfirmed EF0 (45-85 MPH winds) tornado hit the area of Cecil, Ohio. This storm came as a surprise to many people. Just as crews were heading out to Cecil area, another storm came through Paulding County with 80 mph winds near the Haviland and Latty areas. This affected both American Electric Power (AEP) and Paulding Putnam Electric Co-op (PPEC) members. Both storms left many barns flattened, miles of power lines down and substations knocked off. These storms caused an estimated 2100 members without power. Luckily, power was restored to all PPEC members by late Thursday evening. This is a huge blessing considering AEP was hit harder by the storm causing their customers to be without power for two to three days.
During the storm, one family faced a terrifying experience of having transmissions lines fall on their vehicle while they were driving. This lead to their vehicle being pushed off the road into a field. PPEC linemen Doug Johanns and John McMaster found the family scared waiting in their vehicle. Luckily, they stayed inside their vehicle to avoid electrocution. The mother of the family stated “I was to the point of hyperventilating from panic when the PPEC lineman finally showed up to save the day
Paulding County EMA called a State of Emergency, because so many were without power with no idea of when the power would be back on. The National Weather Service visited the county on Friday to see what damage had been done to confirm if it was a “weak” tornado or straight line winds. Both can still be very dangerous.