Lightning strikes region

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Mother Nature toyed with Lawrence County from late Monday afternoon into this morning – spreading thunderstorm damage across most townships.

Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Mother Nature toyed with Lawrence County from late Monday afternoon into this morning – spreading thunderstorm damage across most townships.

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High water and some blown down trees covered state and county roads for brief periods of time, while lightning contributed to scattered power outages, emergency agencies reported.

"We received lots of water really fast," said Don Mootz, county 911/Emergency Management Agency director.

"We had a half dozen or eight roads underwater that we had reports on," Mootz said. "We haven’t got any calls at this point on damage or anything but it’s early. We could still get some calls."

Although rain is still expected today and at times during the week, forecasters say the worst is over.

In Lawrence County, storms began about 3-4 p.m., with heavier ones concentrated in northern areas scattered throughout the evening into this morning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Shinko in Charleston, W.Va., this morning.

"The rain fell in bands over the same areas and you were particularly hard hit in the north," Ms. Shinko said.

The heaviest line ran from South Webster through portions of northern Lawrence County to just north of Crown City, she said.

Weather radar estimates of rainfall showed the heavier band dumped about 2.5 to 3.5 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts approaching 4 inches, Ms. Shinko said.

The southern portion of the county wasn’t hit as bad, receiving about 1.5 to 2.25 inches of rain, she said.

The storms also brought spectacular lightning flashes, which knocked out power to 373 electric customers in the Ironton area during the night, American Electric Power spokesperson Melissa McHenry said.

Power was restored after each small outage but at least four customers remain without power this morning because repair crews could not reach them because of high water, Ms. McHenry said.

"We have crews working now on those and power should be restored sometime this morning," she said. "Most of the damage was caused by lightning hits but we also had high wind and tree damage."

Quick rains caused severe runoff in some areas, which covered several roads, Mootz said.

At one time, County Road 15, Ohio 243 near Clark’s Mini-Mart, Ohio 7 at Hamilton Chevrolet near the fairgrounds, the underpass at County Road 1A, County Road 268 one mile from US 52, and county roads 67, 121 and 69 had water over them, he said.

"We had no emergency runs called," Mootz said. "It’s just the ground wouldn’t absorb water as fast as it came down."

Dispatchers with 911 did notify the Ohio Highway Patrol of flash flooding on roadways, he added.

OHP dispatchers said water covered Ohio 93 in the usual places and several troopers reported trees down, but roads were cleared quickly and there were no major accidents as a result of the storm.

The Ironton Police Department said several callers reported yards flooding but very little other damage.

Shinko said the weather trend points to storms moving slowly southwest of the Lawrence County area.

"Lawrence County will be right on the edge of the storms, unfortunately," she said.

There will be a break Wednesday and maybe another chance of storms Thursday and Thursday night, but predictions are questionable, she added.