Straight line winds, not a tornado, blamed for tree damage

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Straight line winds are being blamed for these uprooted trees on Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District t between Atwood Valley private property owners and Atwood Lake July 5.
Straight line winds are being blamed for these uprooted trees on Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District t between Atwood Valley private property owners and Atwood Lake July 5.

CARROLL COUNTY – Damage left behind from a storm that hit parts of Carroll County July 5 looked like a tornado hit the area.

Carroll County Emergency Agency (EMA) Director Tom Cottis said the damage was actually caused by what are known as straight line winds.

“The winds were estimated at 70 miles per hour (mph) with peaks at 80 mph,” Cottis said. The storm hit the Dellroy area mid afternoon (3-4 p.m.) and followed a nearly straight line to Carrollton, ripping trees out of the ground, downing power lines and causing flooding.

“Many of the trees in the Dellroy area had a twisted look to them like a tornado hit,” Cottis said. “With straight line winds, the wind blows trees in one direction and then, when the wind dies down, the trees recoil and the wind hits again, it twists the tree and give it a tornado appearance.”

“There were no tails on any of the clouds and no rotation in the clouds, which means there was no tornado,” Cottis noted.

A tree came down across SR 39 just west of Cactus Rd., which blocked traffic and downed power lines and a tree fell across Park Ave. and onto a house on Park Ave. in Carrollton. Trees were blown down at several residences in the Dellroy area. A pond on Fisherman Rd. overflowed its banks and caused flooding in a low lying area along SR 39 just west of Fisherman Rd.

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh does not have an official rain gauge in the area where the storm hit, but Cottis estimated it to be between four and five inches.

“The closest rain gauges are at Leesville, which registered 1.2 inches and Atwood, which had 1.3 inches,” he said. “But the storm stalled out over the area between Dellroy and Carrollton and several inches came down in both communities. Suprisingly, there was not a lot of structural damage to homes and buildings with the storm,” he said.