Microburst causes major electrical outage


By Evan Goodenow - egoodenow@civitasmedia.com



<p style="text-align: right;">Photos by Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Trees were down Sunday at the Don Pease Memorial Bike Path on South Main Street. Winds of about 70 mph during a thunderstorm Saturday felled trees around Oberlin and caused electrical outages for about 3,000 Oberlin Municipal Light & Power System customers.

Photos by Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Trees were down Sunday at the Don Pease Memorial Bike Path on South Main Street. Winds of about 70 mph during a thunderstorm Saturday felled trees around Oberlin and caused electrical outages for about 3,000 Oberlin Municipal Light & Power System customers.


Oberlin workers remove downed trees Monday on West Hamilton Street.


A downed tree Monday at the Oberlin Golf Club.


A microburst of wind during a thunderstorm Saturday downed electrical lines and trees in Oberlin and New Russia Township and caused a major electrical outage.

About 3,000 of Oberlin Municipal Light & Power System’s 3,200 customers lost electricity at about 4:30 p.m., said OMLPS director Steve Dupee.

The west side was hit hardest. All but a handful had electricity restored by 1 a.m. Monday.

A microburst is a column of air within a thunderstorm, also known as a downdraft. It is usually less than or equal to 2.5 miles in diameter, according to the National Weather Service.

Brian Mitchell, a meteorologist with the Weather Service’s Cleveland office, said the microburst had a speed of about 70 mph. About a half-inch of rainfall was recorded at the Lorain County Regional Airport during the storm.

Dupee said it was the worst outage since he was hired as director in 2001.

It caused circuit breaker shutdowns at the system’s power plant on South Professor Street and the Oberlin Road substation. A combined nine workers from utilities in Bowling Green, Orrville, and Wellington assisted Oberlin Municipal’s 32 employees in restoring power as part of a mutual aid agreement.

“It was quite challenging,” Dupee said. “They absolutely rose to the occasion.”

Tree removal continued Monday. Dupee said it will cost the utility at least $90,000, double the utility’s annual tree removal budget.

Dozens of trees were snapped like twigs at the Oberlin Golf Club on Pyle-South Amherst Road in New Russia Township, closing the private golf course Monday.

Some of the biggest trees fell by the 10th hole. A beekeeper worked by one tree capturing bees whose hives were destroyed when the trees fell.

Adam Cook, the club’s second assistant, said the majority of the cleanup will take at least two to four weeks. Cook said it was the worst damage since he started working for the club in 1988.

“We’ve had trees down before but not like this on the entire course,” he said.

Oberlin fire chief Bob Hanmer said emergency training classes helped firefighters respond to the storm.

“We always wondered, ‘Why are we taking them?’ Yesterday was a good example why,” he said. “When the storm came through, our training and experience from those past instances really helped us get this town back into shape.”

Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.

Photos by Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Trees were down Sunday at the Don Pease Memorial Bike Path on South Main Street. Winds of about 70 mph during a thunderstorm Saturday felled trees around Oberlin and caused electrical outages for about 3,000 Oberlin Municipal Light & Power System customers.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_Treefall1.jpg

Photos by Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Trees were down Sunday at the Don Pease Memorial Bike Path on South Main Street. Winds of about 70 mph during a thunderstorm Saturday felled trees around Oberlin and caused electrical outages for about 3,000 Oberlin Municipal Light & Power System customers.

Oberlin workers remove downed trees Monday on West Hamilton Street.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_WorkersRemoveTree.jpgOberlin workers remove downed trees Monday on West Hamilton Street.

A downed tree Monday at the Oberlin Golf Club.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_GolfCourseTree1.jpgA downed tree Monday at the Oberlin Golf Club.

By Evan Goodenow

egoodenow@civitasmedia.com