Posted in Hiking, Past events

Windstorm Update

On Friday (06/29/2012) violent thunderstorms with high winds swept through Ohio leaving hundreds of thousands of people without electric power. Many will not have power restored for a week. The storm damage was due to a phenomenon that meteorologists call a ‘derecho’. A derecho is a sustained, straight-line, strong wind accompanying severe thunderstorms. Wind speeds of 82 MPH were measured at Don Scott Field in NW Columbus (that’s hurricane force).

Fallen branches and trees along the trail.


Early Sunday morning, we drove to southern Fairfield County to hike Rhododendron Cove (our second trip to the preserve, we will post on this soon). The bulk of the hike was along a forested ridgeline. On the hike up to the ridge we did not notice much wind damage, but storm damage became apparent as we reached the unprotected ridgeline.

The trail was covered with debris – most of it consisting of leafy twigs and small branches. In places we saw larger branches and in a couple of places the trail was completely blocked by tree falls. We moved the branches to the side of the trail. We were able to go around one of the tree falls. The other blocked a part of a small side-loop trail prompting us to go back.

The derecho that hit much of Ohio no doubt affected trails across the state. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources budget and staff (even augmented with volunteers) is limited. We are very grateful for their ongoing trail maintenance work, but given the statewide effects of the derecho, I expect that we will be detouring around fallen trees for some time to come.

Detailed view of blossoms seen in the topmost photo
The downed tree fell across the trail. It’s hard to tell the scale from the photo, but this was too high to step over. Deb actually crossed under it on the way in and went around it on the way out.
Debris from a Tulip tree on the trail

Update: Columbus Dispatch (7/10/2012) – Several parks / preserves inaccessible, trails closed due to storm damage – article.




© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2012 to 2019


4 thoughts on “Windstorm Update

  1. Awww, I’m sorry to hear that so much that I’ve seen that is so beautiful in your state was affected. Thanks for explaining a word that I’ve never heard before, “derecho.”

    1. “Derecho” is the Spanish word for “straight ahead.” This is the first time I’ve ever heard it used in relation to a weather event. I guess they are emphasizing that despite the high wind speed, the wind isn’t revolving around a central point the way that hurricanes and tornadoes do.

      I just saw a news article that said 1.4 million people, from Illinois to Virginia, are still without electrical power. So if there’s debris on the trails here, that’s a small thing compared to the way that the storm is continuing to impact people in their day-to-day lives.

  2. If you ever find yourself on the ridgeline of a hill when a storm unexpectedly sets in, you should move off the top of the hill. The wind is always stronger on the hilltop, so the trees there are the most likely to fall over or drop large branches. Go downhill, preferably on the side of the hill that’s away from the wind.

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