Ashtabula residents react to torrential downpours, possible funnel cloud


ASHTABULA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — Clean-up efforts are underway in Ashtabula County, as residents pick up debris caused by heavy storms.  The severe weather, which rolled through around noon, sparked tornado warnings and possibly an actual funnel cloud.

A Fox 8 viewer sent video of torrential rain falling in the city of Ashtabula around midday Thursday.  The intense downpour flooded the Main Avenue underpass and literally turned the intersection of West 58th Street and Madison Avenue into a lake.

“I was in the house, tried to watch TV, the satellite went off and on so, I come outside, the police had the whole road blocked, so nobody drive there because the water was so high,” said flooding victim Benjamin Luyando.

Hours later, much of Luyando’s backyard was still underwater, although it had greatly receded.  The water was also high enough to flood his basement.

“My dryer, the water…it was all the way to here, a foot and a half,” he explained.

Luyando says his dryer, hot water heater and furnace are all damaged.  He says it appears the rain overwhelmed his sump pump, that was supposed to keep the water out.

Another Fox 8 viewer took video of what appears to be a massive funnel cloud spiraling near the Havens baseball complex in Jefferson.  From above, SKYFOX, captured video of destroyed barn, although it’s unclear whether the funnel cloud itself is what blew it apart.

As of 6:00 p.m., according to FirstEnergy, only about three dozen Ashtabula County customers were without power.  Crews spent the day removing trees, repairing lines and restoring electricity.

“We came back and I first saw my landlord’s trees down and then I saw my yard and I walked around and there were a couple more trees down, so luckily the house wasn’t hit,” said Kingsville resident Morgan Boggs.

“I called my daughter, she put me on videophone and that’s when she showed me where the top of the tree had hit our garage and then showed me the front of the house, which is where we had several limbs come down out of a large oak tree, ripped the corner of our house off and took all the power with it,” said Kingsville resident Stephanie Noel.

The aftermath of high winds kept residents in the town of Kingsville busy clearing away trees and other debris.  They say neighbors banned together to help each other.

Residents are glad no one was hurt.

“I just know, it’s a giant mess and I haven’t seen destruction like this the entire time I’ve lived here and I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never seen anything like this…this is crazy,” said Noel.

As of 9:30 p.m. Thursday, FirstEnergy shows fewer than five customers in Ashtabula County remained without power.

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