Portage County power outages may continue into Wednesday

Vehicles traveling eastbound Monday on Tallmadge Road drive past downed utility poles and wires across from Homeland Cemetery in Rootstown.
Vehicles traveling eastbound Monday on Tallmadge Road drive past downed utility poles and wires across from Homeland Cemetery in Rootstown.

Days after a windstorm over the weekend knocked out power, thousands of customers were still without electricity, some schools and businesses closed their doors, and residents sought to clean up damage to their property.

FirstEnergy Corp. reported a little over 800 of its Portage County customers were without power as of late Tuesday morning, down from more than 2,000 customers reported without power for much of Monday after Saturday's storms.

Tuesday's numbers included about 270 in Suffield Township and about 130 in Rootstown and smaller numbers scattered around numerous other communities. Outages in Rootstown totaled more than 600 on Monday, by far the highest of any community in the county. Much of the Suffield outage occurred Tuesday morning and FirstEnergy said at the time that the cause was under investigation.

Field, Rootstown and Southeast schools were closed Monday due to power outages and closed roads, with Field and Rootstown announcing they would also be closed Tuesday. Sports events in the region were canceled because of field conditions.

Estimated power restoration times varied at the time, from 10 p.m. Tuesday for a small outage in Charlestown to 10 p.m. Wednesday for Rootstown, but this is subject to change. Go to https://outages.firstenergycorp.com/oh.html for updated information about power outages. Residents can also text STAT to 544487 for an update.

To report outages, go to https://firstenergycorp.com/outages, call 888-544-4877 or text "OUT" to 544487.

'It felt like a bomb': Driver's truck struck by tree

Debbie Ferrari said she was driving her Ford F-150 on Sandy Lake Road in Rootstown Saturday afternoon when a gust of wind brought a tree down on her truck.

"It felt like a bomb hit my truck," she said.

The tree shattered her back windows and rear sunroof, but not her windshield, side windows or the sunroof above her head. A pointed log came to rest on the floor of her back seat. She said she is grateful that she was not hurt and that her son and other children in the family were not in the back seat.

"I'm so fortunate," she said.

She and her husband dropped the truck off at a dealership to see if the damage could be fixed, she said.

Power outage forces Portage Meats and Deli in Rootstown to close temporarily

Portage Meats and Deli at 4161 Tallmadge Road, on the corner of state Route 44 in Rootstown, announced on Facebook Sunday that it would be closed until this Saturday due to a power outage.

Owner Adam Davis said Monday that while the business loss some foods, most of his stock was saved thanks to backup generators that is keeping the freezers and coolers operating.

However, the generators do not provide enough power for lights and other things needed to open, he said.

"This isn't the first time it's happened. I'm sure it won't be the last," said Davis.

He said he will reopen sooner of power is restored early enough, but he is not taking it for granted that power will be restored by the estimated restoration time.

"I've seen Wednesday and I've seen Thursday. I'm not holding my breath," said Davis.

FirstEnergy says the causes of the outages include tree and equipment damage and inclement weather.

Ohio Edison posted on Facebook that as of late morning Monday, more than 1,200 line workers and support personnel had restored power to more than 17,000 customers around the region.

"They will continue working 24/7 to restore service to about 21,000 customers who remain without power, with nearly 14,500 of these customers located in the greater Youngstown area," Ohio Edison posted.

As of Monday morning, repair crews had replaced more than 13,000 feet of power lines, 50-plus utility poles, more than 45 transformers, and more than 125 pole cross arms.

How to report storm damage

Residents and businesses can report storm damage to their properties online to the Portage County Emergency Management Agency.

Two small trees lean on utility wires on John Thomas Road near Southeast High School in Palmyra Township on Monday.
Two small trees lean on utility wires on John Thomas Road near Southeast High School in Palmyra Township on Monday.

This report is also available on the Portage EMA App under “Damage Report” and residents may also call directly into the office at 330-297-3607 or email blee@portageco.com.

The Portage EMA App is available on the app store for download for both Apple and Android devices.

Brett Lee, Portage EMA deputy director, said Tuesday morning that the agency had only received one report of damage, to a home in Ravenna.

"Looks like just a little bit of shingle damagage," said Lee.

Lee said that if the county meets certain threshholds of damage, some financial assistance may be available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and/or the state. For private property damage, the minimum is 25 homes or businesses "with 40% or more uninsured loss of fair market value to those individuals."

There also could be financial assistance for damages to public infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, water control facilities and public utilities, public buildings, equipment, and parks and recreation facilities. The costs of debris cleanup could also be included, said Lee.

He said the minimum amount of damage is based on population and for Portage, it would be roughly $670,000, but it is unclear how much would be received if the county went over that amount.

"We report all those damages," he said. "We send them up to them. There's a grant application, all that fun stuff that we have to follow through with. There is a chance that we can get reimbursed but I mean, it's a pretty high number to reach and and we would have to have a pretty terrible, horrible day for us reach it."

So far, Portage EMA had not received any reports of infrastructure damage, said Lee.

Reporter Diane Smith contributed to this story. Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at jsaunders@recordpub.com.

This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Portage County power outages may continue into Wednesday