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Wind storm causes widespread damage and power outages

By ERIC MAROTTA Editor Published: March 15, 2017 12:00 AM
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The first week of March, which brought thunderstorms, tornado warnings and lake-effect snow to the area, was capped by a destructive wind storm March 8. Fittingly, March is severe weather month.

Northfield Center Trustee Paul Buescher told the News Leader he measured sustained winds of around 35 mph, with gusts regularly reaching the 60 mph range. He said one gust measured 65 mph on his anemometer, a device that measures wind speed.

According to FirstEnergy's online power outage utility, outages.firstenergycorp.com, more than 130,000 customers went without power through the region by the evening of March 8. Hundreds experienced storm-related power outages in Nordonia Hills, with around two dozen incidents.

According to FirstEnergy, between 600 and 2,000 Nordonia Hills area customers were without power near the end of the day March 8, with the largest outage near the intersection of Chamberlin Road and Route 82 on the Macedonia-Twinsburg border. A few dozen Nordonia Hills customers in six areas remained without power by late afternoon March 10.

Macedonia Service Director John Hnottavange reported to City Council March 9 there were six road closures in the city due to downed power lines and trees. He said all roads were re-opened by 7:30 p.m. March 8.

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However, Hnottavange said city buildings sustained "quite a bit" of damage, including the recreation center roof, which lost many shingles, the roof at city hall. The service buildings at 9000 Valley View sustained major damage, as the salt shed roof completely blew off the building, one wall section of the garage was completely destroyed and a second badly damaged as well as a garage door.

"We are getting estimates right now from contractors to assess all the damages," Hnottavange said, adding insurance should cover the cost of repairs.

As a result of the downed branches and trees throughout the area, he said the service department will try to coordinate a chipping service within the next week or two.

He said residents should stack their branches neatly, with cut ends toward the street.

"Don't just toss them into a knotted pile so our guys have to spend time being there for no reason," he said. "We will try to get through the city as quickly as we can so we can back to other services."

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Northfield Center is also conducting a branch pickup, scheduled to start March 20. Township workers will make one pass down each street in the township with a chipper to remove branches residents put by the side of the road.

Fire Chief Tim Black said there was a total of 26 calls to the fire department throughout the city and two townships due to the winds.

"We had a pretty bad call about a door being blown into a female, and it knocked her unconscious just from the wind," Black said. "We were very, very busy but we handled it."

He reminded residents not to run generators in the garage and that fuels create carbon monoxide, which can seep into homes.

In an email to township residents, Buescher said sustained power outages occurred in at the intersection of Laurie and Kathy lanes after a large tree uprooted and pulled down all the utility lines and then caused a pole and transformer to crash to the ground.

He said a large pine tree fell on wires at the intersection of Skylane, Pleasantview, while another fell at Beacon Hill, causing homes on those three streets to go without power.

"During this event I was in contact with our Road Department, the Summit County Emergency Management Agency, The American Red Cross, Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black and the Summit County Sheriff's Office," Buescher wrote. "My concern was the forecast for temperatures in the teens and 20's and the news we were receiving that the power might not be restored until Saturday. All of these agencies were ready, willing and able to assist us if and when needed."

He said power was restored for Skylane and Pleasantview around 6 p.m. March 9.

Buescher said he and members of the Macedonia Fire Department, including Black, checked with all the residents on Beacon Hill to see if anyone needed assistance.

"Everyone seemed to be taking the outage in stride, especially those with portable generators. Finally, at around noon, a line crew all the way from from the State of Missouri arrived and began restoration work. Presumably the power should be restored by this afternoon.

He said a power outage at Laurie and Kathy lanes would take longer to repair.

Buescher thanked Black and Summit County Sheriff's deputies.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone about being prepared for emergencies like this," he added. "Spring isn't even here yet and we've already experienced two wild weather events less than a week or so apart.

Briana Barker contributed to this story.

Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433

Email: emarotta@recordpub.com


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