Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Weather leaves a mess: Trees, power lines down

Motorist injured; Utility crews stay busy

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Working with several other neighbors, Dave Busch climbs the tree which fell on Leila Dillon's home.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
A morning thunderstorm swept through the Cincinnati area Monday, injuring at least one person, felling trees and knocking out power for 36,000 Cinergy customers throughout the Tristate.

The National Weather Service predicted a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms today, with the skies finally drying out by tonight.

In Madeira, a motorist was taken to a hospital after a tree fell on the car he was driving in the 8100 block of Camargo Road about 8 a.m. during the storm. He was taken to Bethesda North but no identification or condition report was available. Madeira police officer Casey Marquette said the accident closed the road for about an hour.

Downed power lines sparked a lawn fire in the 7500 block of Euclid Road in Madeira. There was minor damage, Marquette said.

As of Monday evening, Cinergy had restored power to all but 238 customers.

In Kentucky, a tree took down power lines and fell on Paul and Helen Starns' van and house at 241 E. 47th St., Latonia. No one was injured.

For Leila Dillon of Harrison, escaping injury was only a matter of inches.

At 7:30 a.m. she and two teenage sons were in their mobile home at the Maple Leaf Mobile Home Park when a tree smashed through the roof and living room wall. Dillon awoke with the tree inches from her face.

"I guess I'm just lucky to be alive," Dillon said Monday morning as a half-dozen neighbors helped her cut the tree apart, haul it from her home and place a tarp over the hole in her house.

The storm was an area of low pressure in the atmosphere that started in Illinois and moved east. The worst of it was along Cincinnati's west side and into Butler County, according to the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, Ohio.

"It really just depends where you're at as to how bad this morning was," said meteorologist Don Hughes.

Winds upward of 50 miles per hour were reported in Kenton County off Interstate 275 near Covington.

In Butler County, the weather service reported a tree with a 24-inch diameter down in Oxford Township.

From Northern Kentucky north to Butler and Warren counties and east to Indiana, the weather service reported heavy morning rains and tree damage. The heaviest rains measured about four-tenths of an inch on Cincinnati 's west side, in Hamilton and near the airport.

A Colerain Township police spokesman said late Monday morning that much of the township had lost power from the storms.

Employees at the Butler County Government Services Center gathered across the street Monday morning at the Ohio Lunch restaurant after the government center lost power.

"It's really good for our business," said a waitress at the restaurant, which hadn't lost power.

In Hamilton, power lines and trees were downed all over the city.


Janice Morse, Dave Eck and Glenn Hartong contributed to this report. E-mail rforgrave@enquirer.com

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