The storm clouds have surrendered to sunny skies, but thousands of area residents whiled away their Thursday in the dark, waiting for power to be restored to homes and businesses.
The National Weather Service in Cleveland, meanwhile, said preliminary assessments indicate a tornado — weak in strength, but a tornado nonetheless — touched down in the city of Bellevue during Wednesday's wicked stormfront.
Two other tornados also touched down in the region: one in Reed Township, which passed through parts of Huron and Seneca counties, and one in the Rowsburg in Ashland County.
"They were weaker tornados, about 90 mph," said Brian Mitchell, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Cleveland. "In some cases, the damages were probably from the (storm) winds, which were equivalent to the actual tornado."
The first tornado hit just before 2:30 p.m., with an initial touchdown near County Road 27 and Township Road 122 in Reed Township. It continued along a northeast path intermittently for about 10 miles, according to the National Weather Service, reaching maximum winds speeds of about 90 mph with a path about 50 yards wide. It then lifted near the Bellevue Reservoir in Huron County.
About 45 minutes later, a tornado about 50 yards wide ripped a mile-long path through the city of Bellevue. It reached speeds of up to 75 mph and it initially touched down along Flat Rock Road near Kilbourne Street, where power lines and utility poles were torn down completely.
It continued northeast before finally lifting near Gardner and Kilbourne streets. The tornado in Ashland County hit at about 4 p.m.
Damage was significant in all cases, with the tornados and storm winds ripping down power lines, utility poles, tree limbs and branches. Roofs were torn off some structures and flash floods were widespread.
Throughout north-central Ohio, the stormfront left 6,000 to 7,000 buildings without electricity, according to Ohio Edison spokesman Gary Mortus. By Thursday afternoon road crews had restored some power, although about 4,000 people were still without service.
Ohio Edison hoped to have everything back on line by midnight Friday, with crews working around the clock, Mortus said.
Pick up Friday's Register to read more on this story, as well as a story about the weather's impact on local farm crops.