By DAVID SKOLNICK
Hard rain and hail fell, and the weather conditions in Mahoning and Columbiana counties pointed to a possible tornado touching down.
Though the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings Wednesday for the two counties, none were reported.
A warning is issued when the service receives strong indication from radar and or a “fairly reliable report” from a law-enforcement official or longtime weather spotter of a funnel cloud or a tornado, said Bill Randel, a meteorologist with the NWS in Cleveland.
The service issued the warning after seeing what appeared to be a tornado heading toward the two counties, as well as reports of damage related to potential tornados in Ashtabula County in Ohio and Crawford and Erie counties in Pennsylvania, Randel said.
The tornado warning in both counties was issued at 5:25 p.m. and lifted at 6:30 p.m. in Mahoning and at 6:45 p.m. in Columbiana County.
“We had a tough night,” said Mark Koontz, chief meteorologist for WFMJ Channel 21. “The atmosphere was ripe for a tornado, but it didn’t develop.”
About 3 inches of rain fell in Columbiana County and about 2 inches in Mahoning.
Certain areas of the Mahoning Valley were hard- hit by the rain.
The Columbiana County Sheriff’s Department reported widespread flooding and power outages in the county but didn’t provide details Wednesday.
Those leaving the Mahoning County Democratic Party meeting at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman had to wade through water above their ankles to get to their cars in the parking lot.
But police dispatchers in the two counties said there was no major damage.
A Lawrence County dispatcher said some roads had standing water from the storm.
It hardly rained in portions of Trumbull County.