Microburst Causes Major Damage

The aftermath of Friday's microburst in the Cleveland Heights area included many downed trees and power lines, including this scene on a Mayfield Heights roadway.

September 16, 2019

​It’s not as powerful as a tornado, but a microburst – a type of weather phenomenon the National Weather Service (NWS) confirms occurred in the Cleveland Heights, Ohio, area on the night of Sept. 13 – still managed to cause a great deal of damage for customers, communities and FirstEnergy Utilities (FEU) restoration crews to contend with.

A microburst is a column of sinking air within a thunderstorm, typically less than 2.5 miles in diameter, that lasts for a duration of five to 15 minutes, according to the NWS. Wind speeds during a microburst can reach or exceed 168 mph – roughly equivalent to an F3 category of tornado.

The microburst in Cleveland Heights uprooted trees, downed more than 120 power lines and broke at least 50 utility poles in Cuyahoga County. Approximately 60,000 customers of The Illuminating Company (CEI) were impacted by the storm.

Among the hardest hit areas were Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Lyndhurst and Mayfield Heights. Other areas that sustained tree and equipment damage included Perry and Concord in Lake County.

FirstEnergy received thousands of reports of various storm damage throughout the area. Crews have been checking on each one of those trouble spots as they work to restore service.

As of Monday afternoon, 4,000 customers were without power in Cuyahoga County, including 1,200 customers in Cleveland Heights. FEU crews expect to have power restored to most customers by this evening, though some efforts may extend into Tuesday.

CEI crews work on repairing equipment attached to a utility pole in Perry that was damaged by the microburst.