What the National Weather Service office in Wilmington described as a “weather complex” moved through Highland County early Thursday morning, with the combination of brief heavy rain and high wind gusts knocking out power to 1,340 American Electric Power (AEP) customers in the Hillsboro/Highland County area.
Jessica Wright, media liaison for AEP, told The Times-Gazette that equipment issues due to the outburst of severe weather caused numerous power outages in their Southwest Ohio service area at about 8:15 a.m., but that power was restored to most customers shortly before 9 a.m.
Myron Padgett, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said Thursday’s storm was birthed in a moist air system in Indiana and slowly moved eastward in the early morning hours, as he put it, “ebbing and flowing” until it moved into Clinton, Brown and Highland counties.
“We had some strong, gusty winds as the storms were coming in and some heavy rain,” he said. “And those kinds of winds can produce some minor damage. But luckily, we haven’t heard of any significant or widespread damage.”
Parts of Hillsboro and Highland County experienced power loss as the storms rolled through, but after electric service was restored, some crews were able to do some maintenance on utility poles damaged by the storm, such as a damaged pole at North High and Beech streets in Hillsboro.
Traffic personnel Joetta Bentley of Delbarton, W.Va and Katelyn Yates of Pikeville, Ky., who work for Road Safe Traffic Systems, maintained traffic safely around a pair of AEP service vehicles while technicians effected repairs.
“All that wind and rain took down a cross arm from the pole,” AEP service technician Chris Powell of Seaman said. “When we were doing normal circuit repairs, that arm was in pretty bad shape — the wind got to it before we did.”
He said that other service calls his crew had been dispatched to include a utility pole splintered due to high winds, several calls of wires down and another where a tree fell on several live wires.
“That little bit of wind came through and knocked down some trees and caused some outages like this one here in town,” he said. “That’s usually how it goes and all you can do is plan for things like this, and then head out and fix them.”
Padgett said that despite the inconvenience of scattered power outages, Thursday’s storms paved the way for a cold front that is bringing with it some milder weather.
“We’re looking at a much nicer weekend with lower humidity and below normal temperatures,” he said. “It should be a nice respite from the heat and humidity we’ve been having the last few days.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.