Tornado sirens sounded throughout the city of Athens yesterday morning, marking the start of daylong inclement weather that caused minor damage and shut down four roads within the county.
At 7:12 a.m. yesterday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning until 8 a.m. because of a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 7 miles northwest of Coolville moving east at 35 miles per hour.
Ohio University notified students of the warning via emergency text message at about 7:32 a.m. Some students reported receiving notification hours after the warning ended.
The warning was dropped by 8 a.m. and a tornado watch was issued until 1 p.m. yesterday, according to the service.
A flood watch also was issued for Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Vinton and Washington counties until 10 p.m. yesterday, according to the service.
Rain throughout the day caused minor damage because of fallen branches within Athens County, said Fred Davis, spokesman for the county’s Emergency Management Agency.
As of 4:42 p.m. yesterday, four roads throughout the county were shut down, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
In the city of Athens, there was some flash flooding throughout the day, particularly on Richland Avenue between Hooper and Pomeroy roads, said Assistant Service Safety Director Ron Lucas.
The flooding on Richland Avenue and several other areas had receded and city street workers were cleaning up the debris, such as tree branches, by yesterday morning, Lucas said. Several trees were down throughout the city because of the flooding, he added.
As of 9:30 a.m. yesterday, 55 Athens city residents’ power was out because of the storms, said Jeff Rennie, spokesman for Southeastern Ohio American Electric Power.
This kind of weather was unusual for wintertime, said Alek Krautmann, associate director of OU’s Scalia Lab.
“When you get the right ingredients for storm weather, it can happen any time,” Krautmann said. “The transition between (winter and spring) seasons just started earlier this year.”