UPDATE: ODOT has announced that I-475 has reopened in Sylvania Township, including all U.S. 23 ramps, but Central Avenue remains closed between Reynolds Road and I-475.
Mother Nature continued to wreak havoc on northwest Ohio Thursday, as severe thunderstorms again ripped through the area, downing trees and power lines, leaving even more people without power, and reportedly killing a man in Springfield Township.
During the storm, which began moving through at about 3 p.m., Lucas County sheriff's deputies and emergency workers responded to a report that a tree had fallen on South Dorcas Road in Springfield Township -- perhaps on a house, perhaps on a vehicle.
Late Thursday Christopher Zimmerman, 35, left his house as the storm was approaching to move a newly purchased vehicle.
A tree fell on the vehicle while he was inside and he was killed, the coroner's office said. He was pronounced dead at 3:59 p.m.
Authorities would not comment on the death.
Toledo Edison today estimated that about 22,000 customers were still without power in the metro Toledo area — 3,500 of them in Sylvania and 6,100 in Sylvania Township, the hardest hit community.
Toledo Edison spokesman Meg Adams said there was a "tremendous amount of damage" and that the company was analyzing how long it may take before power is restored.
Toledo Edison and other utility crews were already busy.
A Friday night storm in central Ohio followed by storms Sunday in eastern Ottawa County left thousands without power in Ohio and surrounding states.
American Electric Power reported today that 5,330 utility customers remained without power in Western Ohio, including 1,807 in Findlay and 1,224 in Paulding, Ohio.
Authorities closed several roads after trees and downed power lines from the storm created dangerous situations, including at the I-475-U.S. 23 split. Central Avenue between Reynolds Road and I-475 also was closed, as was Silica Road, near Convent Boulevard.
Eastbound Sylvania Avenue was impassable because of flooding and downed branches and power lines. Members of the Sylvania Township Fire Department put flares in the road to alert drivers.
Lourdes University was without power and canceled classes Thursday night.
Wood County Sheriff's Office reported damage in Perrysburg Township, including downed lines on State Rt. 795, on I-75 south of 795, and in Rossford near Bass Pro Shops.
Authorities in Ottawa County, which was hit hard by storms Sunday night, reported that they did not get any rain.
Lucas County sheriff dispatch reported multiple traffic problems caused by downed lines and trees, but knew of no road closures.
Brian Tatkowski, who lives on Heysler Road in Toledo, was in his garage, concerned about protecting his Harley-Davidson, when lightning struck a tree in his yard.
Despite wind that he said was like nothing he's ever seen, the trees had held up to that point. But once the lightning hit, they fell like dominoes.
Homes along his street had several huge trees ripped out at the roots. He described them as 100-year-old trees, with exposed root balls up to 30 feet in diameter.
Rusty Hills of East Lansing, Mich., was driving his wife, Carla Hills, and daughter Katie Rose to Columbus on southbound I-75 near Holland when they heard a very loud bang.
Their 2005 Mercury Sable began shaking and rocking.
Driving at a snail's pace through "sheets of rain with zero visibility" Mr. Hills said he pulled off at an exit to assess the damage.
"At first I thought someone must have slammed into me in the back. But there was no damage to the back of the car," he said.
Instead, he said, there was a giant indentation in the roof of the car that extended to the trunk that looked like "perforation lines on paper."
He suspects his vehicle might have been hit by lightning.
An excessive heat warning, in place for at least a week, is not due to expire until later today.
Thursday's high temperature recorded at Toledo Express Airport was 98 degrees, just one degree short of the record for July 5.
The storm that blew through the area dropped temperatures about 20 degrees.
The high at The Blade building downtown reached 99 at 3 p.m. Thursday.
The forecast for the weekend shows few signs of the heat relenting.
According to the National Weather Service in Cleveland, temperatures could be as high as 100 degrees today and 99 degrees on Saturday, with the possibility of thunderstorms throughout the weekend.
The heat is expected to ease by Sunday, with estimated highs through next week settling into the low to mid-80s, according to the National Weather Service.
Contact Kelly McLendon at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-206-0356.