BOB STRICKLEY and CODY LEIST
PDT Staff Writers
A damaging storm worked its way through southern Ohio Friday evening tearing down power lines, trees and damaging roof tops along the way. The storm, that entered the area around 6 p.m. Friday, had front line wind speeds at 75 miles per hour according to the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency.
Scioto County Emergency Management Agency Director Kim Carver said the storm left roughly half of Scioto County without power and, as of 8:40 p.m. Friday, there were reports of over 200 trees down.
“There are a significant amount of trees down and maybe a dozen reports of homes that were impacted by downed trees,” Carver said. “There were no reports of roofs being lifted off homes but there was superficial damage such as shingles.”
Fuller warned that power restoration may take some time due to the widespread damage the storm left in its wake.
“There was damage throughout Ohio so each district will have their workers responding to their own damage,” Carver said. “I would not expect help from other districts right away.
Carver said the area’s fire departments have been working to clear downed trees since the storm left the area. Josh Duncan, an eight-year veteran of the Porter Township Fire Department, was one of many area responders working Friday evening. He and his crew were answering one call when they came upon another set of downed power lines on Old Gallia Pike in Wheelersburg.
“We have been on multiple calls and were actually on our way to 522 Vernon St, when we came across this one,” Duncan said. “We will do a quick investigation on this one and either wait here for another unit or move on to the next one to the next one.”
Duncan said there had been no shortage of communication between the area’s fire departments during the storm’s aftermath.
“I’d say all the fire departments have handled this very well amongst themselves and even going into other jurisdictions,” he said.
Residents in area communities were forced to find alternative routes home because of road blockages from trees and power lines. Ohio Department of Transportation representation Kathleen Fuller said every state route in Scioto and Jackson Counties was affected by the storm damage in some way.
“There were reports of high water but it quickly receded,” Fuller said. “Crews could be working into the early morning hours and their work may be delayed depending on the downed power lines. U.S. Routes 32 and 35 were hit but should be operational.”
Fuller said State Routes 139, 93 and 788 were closed as of 8:45 p.m. Friday evening.
American Electric Power did not have an exact number for the outages in Scioto, Lawrence or Adams Counties, but 9 p.m. reports from the electric provider said Pike County had 1,082 customers without power. In Kentucky, AEP reported 187 customers without power in Greenup County.
Though the Portsmouth Post of the State Highway Patrol did not report any weather-related accidents, U.S. Route 23 between Chillicothe and Waverly was briefly closed.
The New Boston Police Department said the storm caused a large tree to blow over on Grace Street, and there was a two-car accident with minor injuries in front of Walmart when both drivers hydroplaned in the storm water.
When reached the Scioto County Sheriffs Department declined comment on the storm’s aftermath.
Because of power outages at the Daily Times printing facility in Gallipolis, printing for Saturday’s edition was moved to Logan, W.Va. Because of the outages, distribution of the Daily Times will be significantly delayed. The Community Common will be distributed with the Sunday edition of the Daily Times.