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Trees and wires felled by winds; power goes out in Northeast Ohio

FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: March 15, 2017 1:00 AM
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High winds -- some reaching 50 to 60 miles per hour -- across Portage County on March 8 toppled trees and knocked down power lines.

Aurora Service Director John Trew reported Route 306 was closed for about a half hour because power lines were down, and there were trees and limbs down across other roads -- including East Mennonite Road -- but the debris was cleared quickly.

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said there were some power outages, including briefly at Town Hall. She noted the is conducting debris cleanup this week, since the wind blew around trash and recyclables, along with tree branches.

A large tree fell across North Mantua Street in Kent in front of Central School, blocking both lanes of traffic from Fairchild Avenue to Park Avenue. The police and fire departments directed traffic while crews from Davey Tree Co. worked to clear the tree.

The tree, which was toppled by heavy winds, barely missed power lines across from the school. A representative from the Kent schools said power flickered but never went off, and classes remained in session. The road was reopened by 3:30 p.m., according to Kent police.

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Other portions of northern Portage County suffered some damage and several power outages because of the wind. More than 100 Garrettsville area Ohio Edison customers were without power, according to the power company.

During the day March 8, more than 5,000 homes had no power in Portage County, and that number was about 1,350 as of 3 p.m. March 9, but most were back on line by late March 10.

FirstEnergy reported about 143,000 customers in its Northern Ohio region were without power at one time or another, and nearly 40,000 were still without power at mid-day March 9.

In two reported cases, motorists suffered minor injuries after tree limbs fell on their vehicles in separate parts of the county.

Just before 2 p.m., a tree limb fell on a U.S. Postal Service truck making deliveries in the 5200 block of Cline Road in Brimfield Township. The driver suffered minor injuries. In a second case, a tree fell on a vehicle on Route 225 in eastern Portage County, slightly injuring one motorist.

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A tree that fell in the 10000 block of Frazier Road in Windham Township apparently took down some power lines, starting a brush fire.

The Portage County Sheriff's Department reported a tree down at Coit and Infirmary roads in Shalersville Township around 2:40 p.m., while an "extremely large tree" was reported down across both lanes in the 3300 block of Frost Road just after 3 p.m.

Mantua police said the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department, Portage County engineer's and township road crews and First Energy were out investigating and fixing damage and power outages.

Crestwood Primary School canceled an evening music program because of the weather. It was rescheduled for the next evening.

Some airlines reportedly diverted flights from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to avoid dangerous landing conditions from wind gusts.

The Ohio Turnpike banned some vehicles -- mostly large trucks and trailers -- from a 161-mile stretch from Strongsville to the Indiana border.

The high winds damaged a portion of the Kent Stage marquee in downtown Kent. "We were just happy that nobody got hurt and nothing else was damaged other than the marquee," said owner Tom Simpson.

The Center of Hope in Ravenna opened a warming center at 4 p.m. March 9 for residents without power. It closed March 10.


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