A large tree fell into a home on Oak Street in Dayton, possibly from winds and rain that moved through just after noon today. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Tornado watches issued for northern counties

The National Weather Service has issued tornado watches until 6 a.m. for Auglaize, Darke, Mercer and Shelby counties as well as Dearborn, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley, Union and Wayne counties in Indiana.

Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Rich Wirdzek said the threat exists for tornadic activity, but conditions may not be conducive for it.

As the line of storms moves westward, they will weaken and slow in their movement, Wirdzek added.

“A batch of storms to our west will migrate towards us overnight. They had a history of being tornadic, but the air mass we have will not be as supportive for that,” Wirdzek said.

Line crews worked past midnight to restore power to thousands after damaging winds roared through Southwest Ohio Friday afternoon.

By 11:30 p.m., power companies were reporting declines in outages.

Dayton Power and Light outages were 147 in Montgomery County and 114 in Greene County, down from a total of about 1,500 customers in the service area. DP&L spokesman Tom Tatham said power is expected to be restored to most by 2 a.m., but some cleanup will be going on after that.

Duke Energy outages are down from about 9,900 customers to 1,073. There are 372 Warren County customers still without power.

Ohio Edison still showed dozens without power, primarily in the Springfield area.

The storm moved into the northern Warren County area first.

Lightning struck the Wyndemere Apartments in Franklin setting the building on fire.

Neighbors reported seeing flames and smoke at approximately 3:30 p.m.

“We went through and made sure everybody was out of the building. We entered the apartment where we thought the fire was located (and) heard the fire burning ,” said Franklin Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf

Crews extinguished the flames quickly, but the apartment unit was heavily damaged and the American Red Cross was called to assist the two adult residents, Westendorf said.

High winds knocked trees over onto power lines and across roadways.

Commuters going south on Far Hills Avenue in Oakwood were inconvenienced when a tree blew over onto cables used by Regional Transit Authority buses. Traffic was diverted for a couple hours onto Hadley Avenue as RTA employees worked to fix the damages.

Residents in eastern Clark County reported seeing funnel-like clouds developing along U.S. 40 and Ohio 54. Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Rich Wirdzek said the storm brought high damaging winds, but not tornadic conditions.

High winds were blamed for damaging a structure in the 600 block of North Fountain Avenue and knocking a large tree limb onto High Street near Central Catholic High School.

A large tree also fell onto power lines on Lagonda Avenue near Tecumseh Avenue. It was blocking the entire road, according to News Center 7 and Springfield News Sun crews on scene. Some drivers utilized the sidewalk to get around it.

Rain is expected to return Saturday and it could be heavy at times, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Rich Wirdzek.

“Close to sunrise, more storms are possible moving in from the west,” Wirdzek said. “The severe threat will be low for these, but elongated periods of heavy rain will be possible.”

Flooding in isolated low-lying areas may be a concern as showers stretch into the afternoon.

Rains will taper off Sunday afternoon as cooler temperatures move in.

The extended forecast shows skies will be clear and dry through the early part of the next week. High temperatures will reach the low to mid 70s and lows could dip into the upper 40s by Tuesday morning.

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