LIMA, Ohio - Life was returning to normal yesterday for many residents of Allen County, where 32,000 homes had their power knocked out in Thursday's storm that left two inches of ice on trees, rooftops, and roads.
Still, last night 16,500 homes were without power, mainly in the Lima area, where power is not expected to completely return until Thursday, American Electric Power company officials said.
On Frail Road in Fort Shawnee Township, which was particularly hard hit with limbs and tree branches littering nearly every lawn, Steve Harmon spent the afternoon picking up debris in his yard.
"There was not a lot of damage," he said, "It's just irritating."
The sun shone brightly and the temperature reached the lower 40s, sending many residents outside for the first time in days. Ice finally was melting off the trees but, in the process, new problems were created as some of the thawing limbs snapped power lines in two as they moved back into place.
"That's very typical of an ice storm," said Vikki Michalski, an American Electric spokseman.
As a result, another 500 Lima-area homes lost power yesterday, she said.
On Jo Jean Road, where tree removal trucks were especially busy, Tammy Ream was out walking her dog. Surveying the damage to her neighbor's home, where a tree limb went through the roof, she said she felt fortunate.
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"We're very lucky," she said.
Ms. Ream said she and her family were able to remain in their home without electricity because they have a gas fireplace. Several friends and neighbors who weren't so fortunate have been camping out at the Ream home since Thursday.
The local American Red Cross chapter was operating five shelters in Allen County and one in neighboring Hardin County. On Thursday, about 115 people were living in the shelters, but that number dropped to about 20 yesterday in the three remaining shelters in the Lima area, said Red Cross spokesman Brenda Mead.
Dorothy Crossman, 84, of Shawnee Township, who has been staying at the South Collett Street shelter since Thursday, said she was ready to go home, assess the damage, and get on with her life. "It's terrible out there," she said.
Mrs. Crossman has had an especially bad time with weather in recent months. A hurricane destroyed her winter home in Florida last summer and now she fears she will have to deal with water and fallen-tree damage with her Ohio home. Despite that, Crossman has a positive attitude. "I'm not going to worry about it," she said. "What good is it going to do? When I get home I'll take care of [it.]."
Elsewhere in northwest Ohio last night, 4,200 homes remained without power in Bucyrus, 3,200 in the Kenton area, and 4,000 in the Willard area, Ms. Michalski said. Power will not be completely restored to those areas until Wednesday and Thursday. She said it takes a long time to get everyone back on line because repairs crews are working on restoring power to homes.
In Findlay, 294 homes were without power last night, while 700 homes also were without power in Upper Sandusky.
Ottawa, Van Wert, and Paulding had their power restored yesterday, Ms. Michalski said.
Meanwhile, the Sandusky River in Tiffin and the Blanchard River in Findlay began to recede, easing fears about serious flooding in those communities. Nevertheless, a number of rural roads in Hancock County remained closed yesterday because of high water, although no residents were evacuated, sheriff's deputies said.
In Wyandot County, a number of rural roads remained closed for the second week because of the overflowing of the Tymochtee River, sheriff's deputies said.
In Fostoria, authorities were keeping an eye on Portage Creek, which was at an unusually high level. In Van Wert County, sheriff's deputies said the St. Mary's River is rising in the southwestern part of the county, near Willshire.
Forecasters are calling for moderate temperatures and rain this week, raising concerns about potential flooding as the snow melts, authorities said.
Contact George Tanber at: email@example.com or 734-241-3610.40.74269 -84.10729