ELYRIA — No one was injured when a tree fell on a Furnace Street home Tuesday evening.
After wind and rain throughout the day, the city’s Fire and Service departments responded to a maple tree into a house in the 300 block of Furnace at 8:16 p.m. The tree damaged the front of the house, including the porch and the front peak of the roof, as well as severing cable and utility lines.
Tenant Lucetia Frisch was at work when she got the call, she said. Her five children, their baby sitter and the baby sitter’s two children were all in different rooms of the house at the time.
“As far as physically, everybody’s shook up, but we’re OK,” she said. “The kids are scared, my daughter thought the end of the world was here.”
Frisch said her landlord has insurance on the building, but some of her son’s
Christmas gifts, including a TV and PlayStation4 were damaged. Several of the bedrooms, including hers, are at the front of the house, she said, and the family was fortunate no one was in them at the time.
The city had contacted the Red Cross to help find a place for the family to stay Tuesday night, as they couldn’t go back into the house safely.
“I think they said they’ll put us up in a hotel tonight. I only have one sister here, I don’t have any other family but one sister,” she said. “She has a family staying with her and it’s packed to the gill. I know I’m her sister and she’d say ‘Make way, make room,’ but she’s got six kids plus her roommate’s kids.”
Kevin Brubaker, Elyria’s assistant safety service director, said the tree was uprooted from the soggy ground Tuesday.
“It was a combination of the wind and then all the rain that we got today, saturated soil, wind boom because you can clearly see it didn’t snap, it pulled up from the ground and went over,” he said.
He expected the street to be closed for two to three hours while crews worked to remove the tree, cut power to the house and secure the scene. But the building wasn’t a total loss, he said.
“Structurally, these old houses are pretty sound. I’ve demolished enough of them to know how sound they are,” he said. “Will that roof be able to be repaired? I don’t think that the roof is repairable, that will probably have to be removed.”
Standing on the sidewalk with her family and neighbors, Frisch’s children were worried about getting their homework for school today, making it to church and getting their clothes and shoes out of the home. Frisch was just happy they were all safe.
“I don’t know if I want to cry or what the hell is going on inside my body right now,” she said. “But I know we’re going to be all right, and we’re going to get it together. We still got a roof over our heads, nobody was hurt, that’s the main thing. That’s what I’m happy about, nobody was hurt.”
Hail of a day
On top of the rainstorms that moved through the county Tuesday, bouts of roughly pea-sized hail pocked the area. The ice balls blanketed lawns in LaGrange and pelted cars and houses in Wellington and Elyria, though no serious damage was reported.
Aaron Dunn, general sales manager at Brother’s Chevrolet in Wellington, dealt with hail three times Tuesday, starting at his home in Vermilion about 8:20 a.m., then again at 8:45 a.m. during his commute, bringing his drive to a sluggish 10 miles an hour. Once at work, the last bout was about 4 p.m. Shockingly, he said, no cars were damaged on the lot.
“This morning we had pea-sized hail, and it literally covered the ground like it was snow and there was a rainbow while it was doing it, too,” he said.
He’s never seen it three times in one day, he said, and hasn’t really dealt with hail like Tuesday’s since 2012. The last time it hailed a 70-year-old man had just bought a new car from Dunn’s dealership when the storm started on his way home. It left his car pocked, with “scoops” dug out of the windshield.
“He said to the left of them there was a twister,” Dunn said.
This time around, the National Weather Service in Cleveland did not report any tornados in the county. The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm through 4 p.m. Tuesday for Lorain, southwestern Cuyahoga and parts of Medina counties, calling for 60 mph winds and quarter-sized hail. Hail was reported twice in the county — in the morning and again in the afternoon — with the largest reported about an inch in diameter in parts of Lorain, said Raelene Campbell, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland.
The storm was caused by a cold front moving through with a low pressure system colliding with the warmer temps and “ample moisture” seen in the area the past few days.
“We were just able to get enough instability that we able to get the hail because up aloft the air is a lot cooler, so there wasn’t very much time for the hail to melt into water, essentially, (until) it hit the ground,” she said.
While not necessarily common for this time of year, Campbell said hail during the winter is not unheard of.
“There was a couple winters ago … Christmas Eve there was thunderstorms issued and there was hail reports then. It is possible to happen,” she said. “It’s not unheard of, but it is kind of more of an anomaly than a norm.”
The county should see a slip back into typical January weather starting today, with high’s in the low-to-mid 30s, she said. Lake-effect snow is expected today, with light snow accumulations possible, according to the weather service’s hazardous weather outlook.
“There’s a chance of snow tonight into tomorrow and kind of through Thursday for Lorain County,” she said. “There’s nothing significant, but we should not see anymore hail. I think we may have broke the warm streak and the no-snow streak, so we’ll see.”