Lightning and hail hit Washington County


Photo by Art Smith
Hail covers a sidewalk in western Washington County during a hailstorm that swept through the area Wednesday night.

By Brett Dunlap

Staff Reporter

MARIETTA – The Mid-Ohio Valley saw rain, hail and high winds earlier this week with some damage that is typical of many storms that usually hit the area, officials said.

Lightning lit up the sky Wednesday evening and rain and hail were reported around Washington County in Ohio and Wood County in West Virginia.

The Parkersburg area received around a half-inch of rain with some measurements around .65 inches from rain in the evening as well as some rain that fell earlier in the day, according to Meteorologist Levi Cornett with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

“There were reports of quarter-size, one-inch hail that came across parts of Marietta and Washington County, Ohio,” he said, adding there were other reports of one-inch hail in Mason County, W.Va., and half-inch hail in Perry County in Ohio.

Winds were measured at around 60 mph in Wirt County, just south of Elizabeth with a gust in Mason County being measured at 48 mph.

“Wind damage was reported in Wirt County, Mason County and across southeast Ohio,” Cornett said.

Wood County 911 Director Mike Shook said there were a few power lines down between Vienna and Williamstown.

“However, there was nothing major,” he said.

Cornett said a funnel cloud came down in Washington County near Marietta at around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday. The Washington County Sheriff’s Department could not confirm that report.

Washington County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mark Warden said their emergency operations center had no report of a funnel cloud, adding the area had downed trees and branches.

Officials in Washington County were still dealing with cleanup efforts from recent floods.

The Reno Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire Thursday morning that is believed to be caused by a lightning strike the night before.

Reno Fire Chief John Bradford said they responded at 11 a.m. to a brush fire at 28227 St. Rt. 7. Fire officials were told by the landowner that the fire was a result of a lightning strike and the fire was burning overnight.

Bradford said the area was around 25-30 feet deep and had a number of logs, sawdust, branches and various tree waste in it.

Bradford said it was too dangerous for personnel to get in and attack the fire directly. A call was sent out to the Ohio Division of Natural Resources for heavy equipment that could be used to spread the debris about to separate it, but state officials could not immediately respond due to mechanical issues.

After sending photos to ODNR, Bradford said they were advised to keep dumping water on it.

“It is still smoldering and will for a while,” Bradford said Thursday at 4:30 p.m. “We are keeping an eye on it.”

They will continue to evaluate it and they will see if they need to call the ODNR back at some point.

Crews left the scene at around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Bradford is hoping rains expected today will help with the fire.

Tanker trucks from Reno, Little Muskingum, Fearing and Devola were shuttling water to the scene and dumping it on the fire, he said adding he did not have an exact amount of how much water had been used.

Bradford said they had five tanker trucks – two from Reno and one from each of the other departments – and around 18 firefighters on the scene. No injuries were reported among fire crews.

Warden said the area did experience high winds and there were a number of trees and branches down around the area.

A cold front will be moving through the area that will bring in rain showers and thunderstorms this morning, Cornett said.

“It should taper off as it moves westward (this) afternoon,” he said.

The weather service is predicting showers and thunderstorms before 1 p.m. today with a high near 69. There will be a 90% chance of precipitation with around a tenth and a quarter of an inch of new rainfall to fall with the possibility of more if thunderstorms hit.

Overnight tonight into Saturday, the low is expected to reach 44. It is expected to be sunny Saturday with a high near 62 during the day with a low around 37 at night. On Sunday, it is expected to be partly sunny with a high near 58.

Cornett said there is a possibility for frost Sunday night into Monday with lows in the upper 30s.

“It will be cooler and drier with temps dipping into the 30s overnight,” he said.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at

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