‘It sounded like a bomb went off’: Butler County man loses home after wind storm topples tree

A week of 90-degree-plus weather punctuated by quick, high-wind storms in some parts of Butler County will give way to a slight cooling trend this weekend.

High-gust winds this week knocked down trees and branches, causing severe damage to a trailer home and a car among other problems in some locations.

“The Butler County EMA responded to several reports of trees down, including one large tree that fell onto the roof of a mobile home in Fairfield Township,” Matt Haverkos, director of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency, said Friday.

“The damage appeared to begin in St. Clair Twp. just north of Augspurger Road and continue south along Liberty Fairfield road. Most damage was limited to fallen tree limbs, some of which impacted roadways, power lines, and some roofs. It appears that the damage was due to straight-line winds and the National Weather Service Wilmington Forecast Office reported no tornadic signatures on the radar.”

Regardless of its official weather name, Tim Stitzel of Liberty Twp. knows one of those short-burst storms almost proved deadly to him and his dog Thursday when a tree crashed down on his home.

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“It sounded like a bomb went off,” said Stitzel, who lives at the Carmago mobile home park off of Liberty Fairfield Road.

He had just come home from work and was greeting his dog as the storm started. High wind gusts pushed over a large old tree onto his trailer home, nearly splitting it.

“I’m alive and my dog is fine. Thank God. My poor little dog was freaking out,” said Stitzel.

Elsewhere in the trailer park, power lines were downed by the winds and a car was damaged.

Haverkos said such relatively concentrated, pop-up storms can happen in summer.

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“The storms we saw come through the county (Thursday) are indicative of the storms we typically see this time of year. High temperatures and humidity can lead to these pop-up storms, some of which can be severe,” he said.

“These storms are the reason why tell people to be weather aware. Weather conditions can change suddenly and keeping a watchful eye on weather forecasts, current weather conditions, and having a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) approved weather radio can save lives,” he said.

According to the National Weather Service officials, the string of 90-plus days will abate a little.

Today will be sunny with temperatures topping out near 90 but an overnight chance of thunderstorms will lower the nighttime temperature to about 69 degrees.

More rain and slightly cooler on Sunday with showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 1 p.m. Then partly sunny, with a high near 87 with a 60 percent chance of rain before early Sunday evening and an overnight temperature of 65 degrees.

Monday will be mostly sunny, high near 87 with 90-degree plus temperatures returning on Tuesday.

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