Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Toledo region cleans up after windstorm

Crews scramble to restore power; lines down; schools, roads closed

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    Crews work at Lime City Road and U.S. 20, which was closed much of the day. Toledo Edison said 26,000 customers in Toledo initially lost power in Wednesday’s storm, and thousands in northwest Ohio were still in the dark late Thursday.

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    Toledo Edison workers prepare to lower one pole onto North Decant Road. At rear is a sheared-off pole. Downed power lines closed State Route 2 in Jerusalem Township on Thursday. Toledo Edison crews were on the scene.

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    The entrance to Spring Street from Mill Street were closed Thursday because of downed trees and power lines from Wednesday’s high winds in Sylvania.

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    ROV storm09p Kenny Harris picks up downed branches for a friend who lives on Willys Parkway in west Toledo, Ohio on March 9, 2017. The branches had blown across three yards in the Library Village neighborhood. A large branch of the tree had also fallen and had been cut into logs. The Blade/Jetta Fraser

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It’s typically fog, ice, bitter cold, and snow that close down schools.

But many local children stayed home Thursday — and may again today — after strong winds ripped through northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan on Wednesday, causing schools to be without power. 

Toledo Edison crews worked around the clock to restore power to many in northwest Ohio. The company reported early today that 1,161 are without power in Lucas County, 30 in Wood County, 28 in Ottawa County, 20 in Sandusky County, and 12 in Fulton County.

Sylvania Superintendent Scott Nelson said he could not recall a time in his 18 years with the district when the wind had caused such havoc.

“We’re playing it by ear,” Mr. Nelson said Thursday. “[Toledo Edison] is dealing with such widespread stuff that we certainly understand.”

Northview students stayed home Thursday, but power was restored that night, and classes will resume today.

Jerusalem Elementary School in eastern Lucas County also closed Thursday after it lost power.

Its outage was caused by a tractor-trailer that struck one of the wires that had fallen to the ground during the storm.

Principal Paul Gibbs announced Thursday night that power had been restored and school would be held as normal today.

Cold blowing in

The National Weather Service said temperatures will dip over the next few days.

“It’s definitely going to be cold over the weekend,” said Martin Thompson, a hydrometeorological technician at the weather service in Cleveland.

He said the high winds that whipped through the area Wednesday have been replaced by milder breezes of up to 15 miles per hour.

The weather service was projecting sunny skies today and a high temperature near 30, with winds up to 18 mph.

The thermometer is expected to dip to 16 on Saturday and reach a high of 27. Temperatures are likely to reach a high of 29 on Sunday.

Wednesday’s daytime winds caused widespread damage and about 26,000 customers to lose power in Toledo alone, said Chris Eck, a Toledo Edison spokesman. There were 150,000 who lost power in the areas served by FirstEnergy, Toledo Edison’s parent company.

Mr. Eck said 2,061 customers still were without power Thursday night in Lucas County, a little over half of them in Toledo.

Toledo Edison’s online outage map showed dozens of outages across northern Ohio to the Indiana line Thursday night.

“The nature of this wind damage is it is very widespread. ... Crews will have to visit several hundred damaged locations,” Mr. Eck said. He said crews drove Thursday to Ohio from FirstEnergy’s sister utility, Jersey Center Power and Light, to help.

Power is expected to be restored to all customers by 11 p.m. today, Mr. Eck said, adding residents should stay away from any remaining downed power lines.

Roads closed

The Ohio Department of Transportation reported several road closures as well:

● State Rt. 64 in both directions between Monclova Road and Reed Road was closed because of downed power lines, ODOT reported.

● U.S. 20 in both directions between Lima City Road and Oregon Road was also closed because of low-hanging lines. It reopened Thursday night.

● State Rt. 2 between State Rt. 579 and I-280 also was closed because of downed power lines. It also reopened Thursday night.

Consumer Energy’s outage map indicated more than 1,000 residences were without power in Monroe County as of Thursday evening. A greater number of customers did not have electricity in Lenawee County.

Consumer Energy called in crews from other states to assist. All power should be restored by Saturday.

Bedford Township residents without electricity who rely on a well for water are urged to call Supervisor Paul Pironne’s office at 734-224- 7321 or 419-250-4289.

All roads in Bedford Township are open. Fire Chief Adam Massingill said 15 of the 21 calls the department received Wednesday were related to weather — mostly to report downed or sagging power lines.

Of the 221 calls for service in Toledo on Wednesday, there were 79 fire-related calls, which included wires down, according to Toledo fire spokesman Pvt. Sterling Rahe. That is a slight increase from the department’s average of 160 calls for service, Private Rahe said.

The winds that occurred Wednesday came as northwest Ohio was stuck between high and low-pressure systems, and the warmer temperatures also contributed to the near 60-mph wind gusts, said Mark Adams, a meteorologist with the weather service.

Zach Sefcovic, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Cleveland, said while strong winds like Wednesday’s are not rare for the area, he expects to see them more in the fall — versus the winter — because of changing air masses.

“For it to happen in the spring, it’s not super uncommon, but it almost felt like a fall day yesterday,” he said.

Staff writers Sarah Elms and Jay Skebba contributed to this report.

Contact Allison Reamer at: areamer@theblade.com, 419-724-6506, or on Twitter @AllisonRBlade.

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