Police and fire department personnel were responding to reports of fallen trees and downed electric lines.
For Rhuana Gibbs, escaping the powerful winds meant using the front porch to retreat inside her home at 1360 Scoville Ave. SW.
As it turns out, Gibbs narrowly escaped possible injury or worse when her front porch was crushed beneath the weight of a large limb, which snapped off a front-yard tree trunk.
“I literally just went in two minutes before it hit,” Gibbs said of the limb which was snapped off the tree by a powerful wind current Tuesday afternoon. “It got windy, so I went in. No sooner than I got in the living room, the tree fell.”
She nor her husband, Mark Gibbs, were injured. The tree limb appeared to the about a foot and a half in diameter. The point where it was sheared off the tree was about 20 to 25 feet above ground.
Damage to the Gibbs’ home was substantial as the roof awning was crushed. The city Fire Department used yellow security tape to barricade the Gibbs’ front yard as well as the front yard of a next-door neighbor, Michelle Kociuruba of 1354 Scoville Ave. SW. A utility wire was down on Kociuruba’s front yard.
“The fire department said don’t let anyone near those wires until the electric company gets here,” Kociuruba said.
High winds and heavy rain battered Canton and Stark County around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, ripping down trees and knocking out power lines. Canton’s northeast side was hit particularly hard, as mangled tree limbs and other debris littered city streets on nearly every other block.
“It was in places where 60-to-70-mile-per-hour winds came from thunderstorms,” said Brian Mitchell, a hydrometeorological technician with the regional National Weather Service Bureau. “It is just a severe thunderstorm. There were some straight-line winds coming out of these.”
AEP said more than 7,900 customers lost power in Stark County from the storm.
• Paul Taliserro, who lives in the 1600 block of 12th St. NE in Canton, was sitting on his porch when the rain hit. He watched as lightning hit one of the large trees at nearby Nimisilla Park.
“I turned around and other tree was coming out the ground” from the wind, he said.
About eight trees toppled over in the park, including a series of four trees. One tree took out the roof of a park pavilion.
• At 19th Street and Gibbs Avenue NE, Ken Fox pulled massive branches out of the roadway so cars could pass. He and his neighbors surveyed the damage minutes after the storm swept through.
“I looked out and the whole road was covered,” Fox said. “It sounded like a tornado came through.”
n Around the corner, Chris Rood relied on family and friends to yank large branches from her bungalow. The storm appeared to have battered the tops of three black walnut trees. Her biggest concern was a tree furthest from her home. It had been split.
Page 2 of 2 - “I could feel it,” she said of the storm. “It shook the whole house.”
She suspects that only a small roof covering her front porch was damaged, though. It was sunken and rainwater leaked through it.
• In Jackson Township, a tree came down on a home at 6525 Wales Ave. NW, according to the fire department. Police reported power lines down on Wales Avenue NW south of Portage. Drivers were asked to avoid the area. A traffic signal was out at Whipple Avenue NW and Dressler.
• The Hartville area saw marble-sized hail.