PDT Staff Writer
Kim Carver, executive director of the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency, does not mince words when she describes Wednesday’s high winds and rains.
“It was pretty much as if we had a tropical storm that moved through our area yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon and evening,” Carver said. “At one point winds even approached hurricane force and they definitely took their toll.”
Carver said a lot of trees that had been weakened from the recent ice storm fell victim to the force of the winds.
“They were coming down into lines and across roads again last (Wednesday) night,” Carver said. “And so road crews and utility workers are hard at it again today (Thursday). So it was quite an experience there for a while with winds howling and pushing 65 to 70 miles per hour.”
The single biggest damage was caused when a mobile home was blown out onto the roadway at Hoffer Hill in Rarden.
A mobile home was also destroyed by a tree at 880 Bertha Avenue, Lot 104 in Portsmouth.
One of the most bizarre sites created by the high winds was the collapse of much of the former brewery ice house on Front Street in Portsmouth.
By Thursday the front of the structure was still standing, though the leaning of the wall looked ominous.
“We are blocking off the street because the way that wall is twisted and leaning it is going to come down,” Portsmouth Police Officer Joe Shupert said. “They’ve called in a company to tear it down.”
The bricks falling from the structure reportedly struck a newly-built house at 221 Front Street. The Scioto County Auditor’s Web page lists the owner of the property as Lee Glockner.
“At one point all of the fire departments in the county were out handling tree calls,” Carver said. “Some of those trees had lines that were actually sparking fires in the trees and I know that Nile Township had a garage fire that they were working on out there that was started by trees that had caught on fire from lines sparking and coming down.”
Carver said at least three cars were destroyed on Waller Street in the city of Portsmouth when trees came down on them. A truck on 21st Street was also crushed.
Debris littered area roadways through the evening hours into Thursday morning, causing hazardous conditions, and causing motorists to have to maneuver their way along as they left for work and school.
Minford Schools operated on a two-hour delay, Washington-Nile on a one-hour delay, and Notre Dame Elementary was closed because of lack of electricity.
American Electric Power Ohio crews and support personnel continued Thursday to assess the damage caused by the strong winds. At the height of the storm, nearly 146,000 customers were without power. By Thursday that number had been reduced to approximately 111,000.
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101 Ext. 232.