BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Experts with the National Weather Service say what roared through part of Boardman late Sunday afternoon was not a tornado.
A pair of meteorologists toured the worst-hit areas in the township with Fire Chief Mark Pitzer and Mahoning County EMA Director Dennis O’Hara. After looking over the damage and talking with neighbors and repair crews, the team made a preliminary determination the damage was caused by what’s known as a “wet microburst.”
“Preliminary estimates show that wind speeds were around 80 to 90 miles an hour. We’re looking at straight-line wind damage, basically going from south to north, and that was consistent for the entire area of damage,” said Meteorologist Sarah Jamison.
A microburst is “a convective downdraft with an affected outflow area of less than 2 and a half miles wide and peak winds lasting less than 5 minutes,” according to the National Weather Service. While they may cause heavy winds, they aren’t associated with rotation, differentiating them from tornadic winds.
Besides knocking down dozens of trees and utility lines, the storm ripped up the roof at the Firestone Tire Store at the Southern Park Mall. It also caused roof and wall damage at an Ohio Edison garage on Southern Boulevard.
O’Hara said he may submit an application for a state disaster declaration but admits much of the damage he saw may not qualify for a designation.
Storm damage in the Valley
Storm damage in the Valley x