Powerful Storm Rips Through Wauseon; Tears Down Trees

A powerful MCS system that had survived the night and was in Chicago early on Wednesday morning traveled at a fast pace towards Northwest Ohio. After the morning clouds had past Northwest Ohio was getting primed for enhancing the line as it moved east towards the area. At 2:45 pm the first watch was issued for Northwest Ohio with warnings in Northeast Indiana for winds approaching 60 mph.

The first damage to come in was some tree damage in Williams County as the storm approached Fulton County it had weakened some but quickly recycled near Wauseon. This is why it is always important to take every storm seriously. It then unleashed either a down burst or outflow boundary that laid down a several block path of downed trees, power lines on the southwest side of downtown Wauseon.

One of the downed lines sparked a fire on the roof of a downtown building at 123 Commercial Street. Wauseon responded quickly and requested Delta to help assist the fire thankfully was quickly controlled. What is a down burst and a outflow boundary? An outflow boundary, also known as a gust front or arc cloud, is the leading edge of gusty, cooler surface winds from thunderstorm downdrafts; sometimes associated with a shelf cloud or roll cloud. A pressure jump is associated with its passage. A wrapping gust front is a front that wraps around the mesocyclone, cutting off the inflow of warm moist air and resulting in occlusion. This is sometimes the case during the event of a collapsing storm, in which the wind literally “rips it apart”. Shelf clouds also are the leading cause for most false tornado reports. Strong outflow boundaries can produce downbursts. A downburst is created by a column of sinking air that, after hitting ground level, spreads out in all directions and is capable of producing damaging straight-line winds of over 150 mph often producing damage similar to, but distinguishable from, that caused by tornadoes. This is because the physical properties of a downburst are completely different from those of a tornado. Downburst damage will radiate from a central point as the descending column spreads out when impacting the surface, whereas tornado damage tends towards convergent damage consistent with rotating winds.

Even though the damage was extensive behind the Wauseon DMV building and on Legget, Cherry, Chestnut, and superior streets the city of Wauseon did a great job in responding fast to removing the downed trees that were once blocking roadways. The Wauseon police department also did a great job at responding to rope off areas of the downed wires to insurance public safety. The main lesson we can all learn from this event is all storms should be taken serious because it only takes a second for a life changing event to take place.

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