Microburst strikes winery, tosses furniture and customers to the ground

GENEVA, Ohio -- It only took a matter of seconds for a microburst to send furniture flying and throw customers to the ground at an Ohio winery.

A security camera at the Laurello Vineyard on state Route 307 in Geneva, Ohio captured video of the powerful wind from the microbust pulling furniture toward it before shoving everything in its path in the opposite direction, FOX 8 reported.  The collapsed cloud dropped from the sky at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

“The sound was horrific,” said Danielle DiDonato, the winery’s manager. “I was carrying a case of wine and I set the case of wine down and immediately it really sounded like the roof of the building had come down.”

DiDonato had walked through the winery’s backdoor when the storm hit, FOX 8 reported. She is grateful no one was seriously hurt and agonizes over the fear her customers and employees must have felt while trying to escape flying furniture.

“My stomach just sank right then, just being scared for them,” said DiDonato.

The microburst -- a small downdraft that moves in a way opposite to a tornado -- tore the roof off a nearby barn and dropped it onto a car parked next door, according to FOX 8. Umbrellas were thrown into trees; flying glass sprayed everyone in its path.

“As it was coming, the sky was just a black long streak of clouds,” said Patrick Cataldo, who was manning the gatehouse at Kenisee’s Grand River Campground just down the street from Laurello’s. “The clouds started to come down toward the ground. It wasn’t really a funnel at first, but the guardhouse actually started to pulsate."


Damage during microburst in Geneva

Within seconds, Cataldo saw the winery’s roof being sucked toward the sky.

"I watched the shingles go up and it was like a funnel circulation, almost 500 feet up in the air; these shingles were flying up and tar paper was flying around and then it stopped," said Cataldo.

The timing of the storm could not have been more perfect. Roughly 30 people were on the back patio; two hours later the crowd would have numbered more than 300. The crowd was coming to see a popular band and it routinely fills the back lawn.

The winery closed after the storm. It is expected to reopen on Wednesday with limited access to the patio, FOX 8 reported.