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Published: Tuesday, 7/4/2006

Heavy rains and lightning batter area overnight; more of nature's fireworks expected

BLADE STAFF

Thousands enjoyed the lights from man-made fireworks across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan last night - then Mother Nature put on a show of her own.

Like a massive strobe light display, lightning turned night to day and heavy downpours racked the area from late Monday into this morning.

Neighborhoods in Toledo and other places still recovering from severe storms that caused flooding from June 21-23 were hit hard - again.

And unfortunately, there is a good chance the scenario will be repeated today as pockets of scattered thunderstorms stream eastward through this area from across northern Indiana.

Toledo Edison reports as many as 7,000 customers were without power at the height of the storms last night, though crews working overnight had reduced that number to just over 1,000 this morning. Felled trees were responsible for some of the problems.

Hardest hit areas included Hillsdale and Lenawee counties, with as much as 5 inches of rain in some locations, according to the National Weather Service. Two inches of rain were reported in some parts of Toledo as well as in Wood County.

All that rain created more flooding problems for some residents in the West Toledo neighborhood around Crawford and Bennett, where a June 21 storm caused extensive basement flooding and damage. Underpasses and several streets again ran over their curbs with water.

Ironically, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner only yesterday announced that the city had spent at least $266,000 responding to that storm, including $107,000 in overtime costs.

President Bush officially declared Lucas, Erie, Huron, Sandusky, Cuyahoga and Stark counties in northern Ohio eligible for federal disaster assistance as a result of the June storms. Norwalk in Huron County was particularly hard hit by flooding caused by heavy rains overflowing a spillway at a levee there.

Residents and businesses seeking financial assistance to recover from those storms should contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-621-3362 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or apply online at www.fema.gov. Financial aid is available in a variety of forms, including repairs, restoration, clean-up and even unemployment benefits for those who work from home or whose businesses were shuttered by flood damage.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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