The damaging thunderstorm that roared through northwestern Ohio, including parts of Hancock and Seneca counties, Sunday afternoon was another reminder of how unpredictable weather can be.
Even though the National Weather Service is calling the blast that swept through north Findlay “straight-line winds,” some suspect a tornado occurred.
Either way, the storm got our full attention.
Winds between 80-90 mph left a trail of destruction along Trenton Avenue and points east in Findlay, while other areas in the city were mostly unscathed.
We have to concur with Miller Meats’ owner Jeff Miller, whose Trenton Avenue business was among those which sustained extensive damage, that Findlay was blessed the damage wasn’t more substantial.
The same storm later spawned tornadoes in Seneca County.
There has been some criticism that the city’s tornado alarms weren’t activated sooner Sunday. But unlike funnel clouds, strong winds aren’t visible.
It wasn’t until 4:09 p.m. that the city received a report of a possible tornado touchdown in Highland Estates, near Melrose and Crystal. The sirens were activated a short time after, but by then the damage was done.
While timing is always going to be questioned when it comes to the sirens, the response to the storm was swift.
Emergency responders were on the scene within minutes after the first reports of damage came in; a mandatory evacuation of Highland Estates mobile home park was issued due to concerns about gas leaks; and the Red Cross opened up an emergency shelter at 50 North, on Melrose Avenue, not far from the most heavily damaged area of the city.
City administrators did their best to keep residents updated by disseminating news releases to the media alerting of the situation, areas to avoid, and providing updates throughout the evening.
Radio, TV and social media proved to be the best sources of information as the fast-moving storm hit Findlay and passed.
Clearly, Mother Nature is causing havoc more often these days, but at least on Sunday, Findlay weathered the storm remarkably well.
Next time we should be as lucky.