Straight-line winds tear through Union County property, leaving severe damage

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The National Weather Service determined straight-line winds caused damage in an area of Union County during storms late Friday morning (WSYX/WTTE)

National Weather Service crews were out near Marysville Friday afternoon to survey damage left in the wake of a severe thunderstorm from Friday morning; the damage looked deceivingly like what people might expect from a tornado.

"Some people get confused on, they see this damage and think it has to be 'tornadic' because of the amount of damage it’s caused but straight line winds can cause as much damage as the weaker tornado," said Jeffrey Sites, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio.

Sites said his survey crews estimated the winds reached as high as 75, maybe 80 mph. "Severe thunderstorms start at 58 mph, so when you get up over 70, you’ve got a pretty strong severe thunderstorm," he said.

The winds took down a 100-year-old tree on the property of Cunningham Farms on White Stone Road, it also ripped the shingles off their shed and sent them flying. Some of the metal rods on their silo were shifted from the winds; they'll need a crane to move them back into place.

No one was hurt, but their neighbor's barn was torn to pieces. Parts of it lay in a field across the street, others in a field behind Cunningham Farms, reduced to twisted metal.

"You definitely don’t want to be outside during a severe thunderstorm with the flying debris and the other hazards that come along with it," Sites said.

Sites stressed that whenever you see a severe thunderstorm alert on your phone or hear a siren, move to a secure place and take no chances.