SPRINGFIELD — Crews from Ohio Edison had restored power to all but 1,000 customers Sunday when a second violent storm blew through the region, thwarting much of their work and leaving an additional 33,000 Clark County residents without electricity after the storm passed.
About 1,374 DP&L customers were without power in Champaign County and an additional 425 in Clark County Sunday night.
Residents in Clark and Champaign counties were just beginning to recover from a major storm Friday that knocked out power for thousands and ripped down trees and power lines when the second storm hit early Sunday evening. Winds of 58 mph were recorded in Springfield shortly before 6 p.m., according to information from the National Weather Service.
Both storms knocked out power to thousands of Ohio residents as temperatures soared into the high 90s throughout the weekend.
The storms prompted Ohio Gov. John Kasich to declare a state of emergency, while President Barack Obama authorized federal relief late Saturday night.
An estimated 700,000 Ohioans were without power as of Sunday afternoon.
Still, more storms are possible, said Andy Latto, a meteorologist for the NWS in Wilmington.
Conditions for similar storms are possible for the next few days, he added.
“Overall, we’re probably not out of the woods area-wide for the next couple days,” Latto said. “The weather pattern is still holding in place.” The initial storm Friday knocked out power to about 42,000 residents in Clark County, said Tim Suter, Ohio Edison area manager.
Work crews got that number down to about 1,000 residents by Sunday afternoon, but the figure jumped back up when the second storm hit, Suter said. Power should be restored to most residents by Wednesday morning, he estimated.
After calling in assistance from other crews as far away as Cleveland, about 800 workers, including engineers, line crews and others, were trying to restore power, Suter said.
“These guys work 16 hours straight before they go to bed,” Suter said. “It’s hard, physical work and the temperature is nasty outside.”
Friday’s storm knocked out power for as many as 175,000 of DP&L’s customers, according to information from the company. Although progress had been made restoring power to many of those residents, Sunday’s storm blacked out an additional 25,000 to 30,000 homes, said Mark Vest, a spokesman for the company.
About 95 percent of their customers will have power by Wednesday night, Vest said.
Duke Energy also reported 5,637 residents without power in Warren County as well as 2,241 in Butler County and 135 in Clermont County.
Several residents suffered damage to their homes and other property.
Around 6 p.m., a 50-foot tree crashed through the roof of a home in the 1400 block of Beacon Street, said Dawn Banks, 43, who lives in the single-story brick home with her family.
“There’s a branch on my mom’s bed that missed her by a foot,” Banks said. “My mom is 71. I’m grateful she could move that fast.”
After the tree fell, Banks contacted the fire department to assist her with transporting her niece to the hospital for a second time. Banks’ niece has cerebral palsy and is on life support, She also had to contact them on Friday after losing power to their home.
Emergency workers in Clark County were working steadily to make sure infrastructure such as water treatment plants and pumping stations had power, said Lisa D’Allessandris, director of the Clark County Emergency Management Agency.
She said crews would assess the damage today and canvass the county to make sure residents who need assistance are taken care of, particularly those with medical conditions. County workers will also continue to remove debris and assess any structural damage that occurred during the storm.
D’Allessandris said residents can dial 211 today if they need additional assistance for issues like oxygen needs or if they need power for some medical reason.
In some cases, local agencies had just finished cleaning up from the initial storm Friday evening when Sunday’s storm hit the area again.
Jonathan Burr, Clark County engineer, said his staff was busy all weekend clearing downed trees and branches from the roadways. They had just finished the brunt of their work Sunday afternoon when the second storm hit.
“We had everything open for about an hour and then we had this come through,” Burr said.
County workers were unable to clear much of the debris until employees from Ohio Edison could make sure power lines were inactive.
“We’re back to almost exactly where we were Friday at this same time,” Burr said.
In Urbana, city crews were busy throughout the weekend clearing streets and intersections of debris, said Kerry Brugger, director of administration for the city.
Today, city crews are expected to canvass city streets to remove downed limbs and branches. If possible, residents are being asked to assist crews by cutting damaged limbs and branches and placing them curbside for pickup.
Urbana’s compost facility on Muzzy Road will also be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the work week to accept storm debris.
Staff Writers Andy Sedlak and Sharahn Boykin also contributed to this report.
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