VAN WERT — Meteorologists are still unsure what makes Van Wert a severe weather magnet, but Mark Steinwedel, of the National Weather Service, said when they hear of a storm going through Van Wert, to watch out.
Steinwedel said it appears the heart of the storm went through the city of Van Wert. The Van Wert County Sheriff’s office reported little damage outside of the city lines, as did those of Putnam and Mercer counties.
“It’s sort of a mystery that they seem to be a center for all of these events. We really have sat and talked about it and haven’t come up with a valid reason for why they seem to do so well, or poorly in this case,” Steinwedel said. “There’s not really anything that we’ve come up with but when we do talk about it, it’s that when a storm does come into Van Wert, you better watch out because it could really produce.”
Van Wert Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy said, though it has no proof, his speculation is that the weather is a result of the wind from Lake Michigan. In his 29 years of being director, McCoy said he has seen 32 tornadoes come across the area.
“When a storm comes through, we have a warm front over the area approaching a cold front. Another thing that could be happening is wind currents could be coming across from Lake Michigan,” McCoy said. “We know of lake-effect snow, think of that same wind current coming down over our area and colliding with other fronts at the same time. My big speculation is that is causing a little bit more of a spin in the atmosphere.”
Despite the damage, there were no signs of a tornado, and there were no injuries.
McCoy said the first call came at 5:55 a.m. when a semi truck rolled on U.S. 30 due to the straight-line winds up to 70 to 80 mph Thursday.
Most of the severe damage was found on the east side of state Route 127, especially on Crawford Street, which was closed most of Thursday.
“It seemed from Washington Street to the east edge of the city it just started taking out all the trees, either uprooting them or snapping limbs off,” McCoy said. “If it didn’t take the tree completely down, they all had extensive limb damage, also taking down all the power lines down the street.”
Steinwedel said the storm also did significant damage when it swept up into Paulding, Defiance and Henry counties.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.